LANSING, Mich. — Eligible Michigan families with children will receive payments directly to their bank accounts starting this week as part of the expanded child tax credit from the federal government, which was prompted by the economic effects of he pandemic.
Experts estimate this will cut child poverty by nearly half, a move the United States has never seen before.
“These will be monthly payments to families that will show up in their bank accounts based on the number of children they have and their income level," said Matt Gillard who serves as president and CEO of Michigan's Children, a Lansing based advocacy group.
Families across mid-Michigan will be eligible for up to $300 per month, per child.
“The credits vary depending upon the age of the child and they vary as well based on the family income but they are designed in a way to truly benefit families on a monthly basis to meet the high costs that they’re incurring in raising children, he said."
Families making up to $150,000 a year and single parents making up to $112,500 per year are eligible for the monthly payments.
National and statewide advocates are pleased with the move and are calling for the change to become permanent. Creating a permanent child tax credit would bring the United States in line with other wealthy nations like France, Italy and Norway which all provide families with money to help with the cost of raising children.
"Don't just have this because we're in COVID, make this permanent. Figure out a way to make this permanent so that we can really, really help families," said Gilda Jacobs who serves as president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy.
The Center for Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University studies racial demographics and says these payments will not only help families rebound from the pandemic, but will also help bridge the equity gaps in education and potentially cut child poverty rates in half.
Jacobs says that eligibility for the tax credit is wide. Families making up to $150,000 and single parents making up to $112,500 all qualify. Families could receive a maximum of $3,000 per year if the child is between the ages of six and 17 and $3,600 for children under the age of six.
For mid-Michigan families like Emily Sutton Smith's, that money will help in a very real way.
“The tax credit for us I think are going to be really helpful as we get our son back into the swing of being a kid and being with his peers," she said. "He’s signed up for a whole lot of camps this summer and this is going to help underwrite that for us. [This is the] kind of support all families need right now because nobody is done with the pandemic.”
Payments to families that have recently filed their taxes should hit bank accounts on Thursday. Families and single parents who have not recently filed taxes can go to the IRS.gov website to submit their information.