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9 in 10 Families Say Child Tax Payments “Made a Difference” in Their Finances

Now that the payments are ending, 1 in 3 families say they will have a harder time paying for basic necessities.

Teddy bears, meant to represent West Virginia children, appear on the National Mall during an event with the Unbearable Campaign to urge Congress to expand the Child Tax Credit on February 2, 2022.

A survey of American households confirms that the child tax credit payments that were issued monthly in the second half of 2021 provided much-needed help to families, who have been struggling to get by since the payments expired.

A poll conducted by SaverLife, a nonprofit group that aims to help people build their personal savings, found that 92 percent of families said that the payments “made a difference” in improving their financial stability. Furthermore, 59 percent of families in the poll said the payments made a “huge difference” in their finances.

Comparing their polling data to other surveys, SaverLife also noted in its report that 49 percent of Americans were more able to pay their bills on time thanks to the monthly tax payments.

The organization noted that the expiration of the payments has made getting by more difficult for a huge portion of the American public — 32 percent of families have had a harder time paying for necessities, including utility bills, since the payments ended in December.

The poll also found that 26 percent of families believe that they will have a harder time paying for “everyday essentials” now that the payments have expired, while 25 percent said that being able to afford food will be more difficult. Around 1 in 5 families (19 percent) said that they will have a harder time paying for housing.

“A permanently expanded [child tax credit payment program] could create long-term economic mobility for families long struggling with low wages and inconsistent incomes,” the report from SaverLife concluded. “Monthly payments provide a consistent source of income, enabling families to keep food on the table, the lights on, and a roof over their heads.”

The findings from SaverLife seem to confirm another study published earlier this month, which examined how the expiration of payments has affected childhood poverty across the U.S. According to the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, there has been a 41 percent increase in childhood poverty, as an additional 3.7 million children are living in poverty now versus how many were in December.

The findings from both studies suggest that reimplementing the child tax credit payments, as the Biden administration and progressives in Congress have called for, could help alleviate many of the financial burdens facing low-income families. However, it’s unlikely that the program will be brought back, as it faces opposition from right-wing Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (West Virginia), who has said that he won’t support reimplementing the program unless severe restrictions — like instituting work requirements and income caps — are included.

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