Eligible parents: Child tax credit money coming your way on July 15; monthly payments till end of year

Come July 15 and for the rest of the year, millions of Americans with at least one kid under the age of 17 — from election denying, conspiracy minded Trumpists to, well, everyone else who is eligible — will get a minimum monthly payment of $250 from the federal government.

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Vice President Kamala Harris speaks about the Child Tax Credit and economic recovery at the Brookline Memorial Recreation Center on Monday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Starting July 15 and for the rest of the year, millions of Americans with at least one kid under the age of 17 — from election denying, conspiracy minded Trumpists to, well, everyone else who is eligible — will get a minimum monthly payment of $250 from the federal government.

The money is an advance on the child care tax credit, temporarily increased in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to help families battered by the COVID-19 economic meltdown.

Gene Sperling, the White House American Rescue Plan coordinator told reporters Monday during a conference call “over 90%” of those eligible will get the upfront payments automatically if they filed income taxes in 2019 or 2020.

Jennifer Klein, co-chair and executive director of the White House Gender Policy Council said in the same call the increased credit is projected to “cut child poverty by more than half.”

Under this new plan, you won’t have to wait until you file your 2021 federal income tax return in 2022 to get some child credit cash.

President Joe Biden signed the measure into law on March 11, with the child credit one part of a giant COVID-19 relief package. The legislation passed Congress with only Democratic votes — but the benefits go to everybody, of course.

The Biden White House declared Monday “Child Tax Credit Awareness Day.” People who did not make enough to file a tax return need to sign up to get the cash, and that’s the reason for the push. Vice President Kamala Harris was dispatched to Pittsburgh to spread the word.

At the request of the White House, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot kicked off awareness drives Monday. City Hall is doing a digital campaign — even some billboards.

Illinois Democratic Reps. Danny Davis, Brad Schneider, Bill Foster, Sean Casten and Lauren Underwood also planned events for Monday.

To learn how to sign up, go to childtaxcredit.gov. Details to know:

·For those eligible, the child tax credit is increased, from $2,000 to $3,000 per child between 6-to-17 years old. That’s $250 monthly per child. The amount is raised from $2,000 to $3,600 for every kid under six. That’s $300 monthly per kid.

·The age limit goes up one year, from 16 to 17.

·Adjusted gross eligible income levels: $150,000 or less married couples filing jointly; $112,500 or less for heads of household; $75,000 or less for single taxpayers.

·Half of the credit will be paid in monthly installments through December, with the rest next spring.

·For now, this is a one-time deal, though Biden would like Congress to extend it for the next five years.

·The first payment is July 15; then Aug. 13, then on the 15th of each month.

·Those with incomes under $200,000 (single parent) or $400,000 (for couples) will qualify for the existing $2,000 credit.

·If you sign up for the child tax credit it will not take away or reduce other federal low-income benefits such as SNAP, TANF, WIC or Section 8.

·If you get your IRS refund via direct deposit, that’s how you’ll get your child care credit; if not, you’ll be sent a check.

·The money comes with no strings attached on how it can be spent.

Being proactive to help eligible people sign up for the tax credit is politically dicey for Republicans, since some of them got been bashed for highlighting other COVID benefit programs they didn’t vote for. Illinois Republican Reps. Darin LaHood and Adam Kinzinger said through spokesmen their offices will help constituents navigate through the system.

I get that shining a spotlight on a significant Biden administration initiative is not a GOP thing. However we got here — this is a government program that can do some good in these difficult times. People need to know what they are entitled to get.

David Harris, the Illinois Department of Revenue director, is the highest ranking Republican in Pritzker’s administration and was doing child tax credit outreach Monday.

He represented the Arlington Heights area when he was in the state House. I asked him how, from the Republican perspective, you speak to Republicans in this post-Trump era.

Said Harris, “When you are talking about benefits for children, that’s not a partisan issue. The Republicans should be able to talk about that just as much as the Democrats, though they may disagree on how much and that sort of thing.”

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