Now that President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus law has been enacted — and millions of Americans have either started to receive a new stimulus check for $1,400 because of it, or will soon — there’s at least one group of people who should expect to receive an additional monthly stimulus payment as part of this same process. There’s no guesswork involved or hope that lawmakers will enact this; it’s already done, set in stone, and is poised to start arriving on a monthly basis going forward.
The group of people we’re referring to is families, specifically families with dependent children. In addition to the $1,400 stimulus checks that have garnered an outsized share of attention in media coverage of the stimulus law, working families can expect to get up to $3,600 via an expanded child tax credit. That money can be thought of as essentially a second stimulus payment, and it will be paid out on a monthly basis.
The way the payments will break down: if you’re part of a married couple earning $150,000 in total or less, or are an individual making $75,000 or less, you’ll get $250 for each child between the ages of 6 and 17 from July through December for a total of $1,500 (6 months x $250). You’ll get $300 for each child under the age of 6. Those monthly payments will provide the first half of the full year’s worth of the expanded child tax credit that these families are eligible for — while you’ll receive the balance, the second half, next year in the form of a credit that you can use when you file your taxes in 2022.
For some context around how much of an increase this is, families could only claim a credit of as much as $2,000, as opposed to up to $3,600 offered via the new stimulus legislation. The extra $1,600 this time around can be used for anything, including family expenses, savings or even investing the money for your child, and single parents and couples who make more than the maximum amounts listed above may still qualify for a degree of aid even though they won’t receive the full payments.
There’s a degree of uncertainty related to this new payment, we should add, thanks to the fact that the IRS filing deadline for this year has been postponed from April 15 to May 17. During a House Ways and Means Committee hearing a few days ago, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said he didn’t yet have an exact timeframe for when these payments would start going out.
The problem, he explained, is that his agency is now a bit hamstrung by the extended IRS filing season, and Rettig told lawmakers he doesn’t have the resources to launch an online portal for this new benefit until the tax filing season ends.