BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — At a stop in Corning on Monday, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) touted changes to the nation’s child tax credit.
One part of Congress’s latest coronavirus relief package, the expanded child tax credit increased benefits for families with children under the age of 17.
The tax credit is not new, but according to some policy experts, its older iterations left out families most in need.
With expanded eligibility and a boost from Congress this year, the child tax credit now grants families up to $300 a month for each child under age 6, and up to $250 for children 6 to 17. That’s up from $200 a month, or $2,000 a year, in previous years.
Eligibility is based on tax returns. Any joint-filer family making less than $150,000 a year, as well as single-filers who make less than $75,000 and have children, are eligible for the full credit. Those who make more than that can get a reduced credit.
Schumer, who is also senate majority leader, said the plan will help half of all kids in New York.
“This COVID crisis has revealed it’s much more difficult to raise a child these days even when you’re middle class,” Schumer said. “The expenses are much greater.”
The tax credit can be used for whatever families need most. This includes items like PPE, diapers and groceries.
Leaders at the Corning Children’s Center said the tax credit will make a big difference for the families it serves. A 2017 Cornell* data analysis showed roughly a quarter of Steuben County residents experiencing poverty are under 18.
Paula Detar, director of the center, said the pandemic has made parenting and early childhood education more costly.
“With the need for masks, with the need for more gloves and more cleaning, and additional play materials so the children have their own Play-Doh instead of touching everybody else’s Play-Doh,” Detar said. “That can become quite a challenge.”
Staff and family quarantines, Detar added, have also been a detriment to the Corning Children’s Center and other childcare facilities. In New York, close to $2 billion from the American Rescue Plan is allocated for child care statewide.
Payments from the child tax credit will begin in July and are expected to continue for a year. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, it will benefit more than three million children in the state.
“It’s going to put some more money in the pockets of people long after the stimulus checks,” Schumer said.
*Full Disclosure: Cornell University is a WSKG Underwriter