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Child Tax Credit Payments Hit Bank Accounts

An image of $20 bills and a blank 1040 tax return.
401(K) 2013, 401kcalculator.org licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

When $500 hit Toni Sterling’s bank account this week, she was excited and surprised. The Springfield stay-at-home parent knew she would be getting the advance child tax credit payments for her son and nephew, but she thought she would have to wait for it to come in the mail. The whole family went out to eat at an Italian restaurant.

“It was kind of nice just to be able to relax and eat out and not worry about the money that we were spending,” she said.

This week, parents across the country started receiving the first installment of the increased child tax credit. Families can now get monthly payments in advance, before filing a tax return. The change comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, designed to provide relief and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sterling’s husband lost his job as a cook at a restaurant due of COVID. Her family relied on food pantries and was nearly evicted. Now, with payments coming monthly through December, she plans to shop for school clothes and take the family to the county fair.

“It means that my family is not going to struggle.” she said. “If we get behind, we know we've got a break in the clouds there. We know that there's something good that's going to be coming.”

Nearly one in five Ohio children live in poverty. According to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the changes to tax credits in 2021 could reduce child poverty in the U.S. by over 40%.

While working at the station Leila Goldstein has covered the economic effects of grocery cooperatives, police reform efforts in Dayton and the local impact of the coronavirus pandemic on hiring trends, telehealth and public parks. She also reported Trafficked, a four part series on misinformation and human trafficking in Ohio.
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