We are into the final two weeks for claiming federal stimulus checks even as the IRS sends out letters to more than 9 million Americans. Lying unclaimed are thousands of dollars in individual payments that also include the expanded Child Tax Credit stimulus checks, the last federal payment before they were stopped in 2022.
Federal policies enacted in response to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic have proved critical in reducing child poverty across America. Data released by the Census Bureau revealed the social programs enacted by the federal government kept tens of millions of people out of poverty in 2021.
The expanded Child Tax Credit stimulus check was the savior for millions of children and for the first time close to 3 million children were lifted out of poverty. The CTC was a key element of the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act. The ARPA Child Tax Credit was the leading reason child poverty went down so precipitously from an abysmal 9.7% in 2020 to 5.2% in 2021, the lowest rate ever recorded.
And what is more commendable is that it happened during the worst crisis that America had faced since the Second World War. And what is frustrating for administrators is that the political wrangling has ensured no further additional action by Congress to renew the expanded Child Tax Credit. this is expected to increase the incidence of child poverty again and it will be back to the nearly double-digit figure that was present before the pandemic.
The refundable Child Tax Credit stimulus check alone accounted for a reduction of 2.9 million cases of child poverty. Black poverty fell by over 50% between 2020 and 2021 and Hispanic child poverty also saw a dramatic reduction during the expansions.
But all the positive effects have come to an end due to the intransigence of the Republicans in Washington, which has led to a higher child poverty rate in 2022 as parents did not have the stimulus checks either to fall back on this year.
The Internal Revenue Service distributed half of the credit in regular monthly checks distributed between July and December 2021. The payments were expanded from the original $2,000 to between $3,000 and $3,600 depending on the age of the child.
Children below six years will bring in $3,600 while children between 6 and 17 years will get $3,000. The maximum age for paying the Child Tax Credit stimulus check has also been expanded from 16 to 17 years.
Most families have collected the monthly stimulus checks and have claimed the balance amount against the 2021 income tax file submitted in 2022. But many families did not collect the monthly stimulus checks sent out in 2021 and are eligible for the full amount if they file their income tax return for 2021 before the cut-off date announced by the federal administration.
But the claim is only possible for families who have not filed their income tax return before. Regular filers had till October 17 to file their 2021 income tax returns and claim the expanded Child Tax Credit stimulus checks and other federal relief measures under the American Rescue Plan Act.
But you may still be able to claim the stimulus check by filing your returns after those dates but with the deadline having passed, filers would only be eligible for reduced payments due to penalties.
People who are normally not required to file their income tax returns because of low Adjusted Gross Income have until November 15, 2022, to apply for the credit payments, as well as the third stimulus check, through the GetCTC.org tool.
Eligibility For The Expanded Child Tax Credit Stimulus Check
The IRS has revealed that the maximum amount of the credit can be collected for any qualifying child with a valid Social Security number to work in the US. To qualify the dependent must be older than 18 years, and be a child, step-child, half-sibling, or another near relative.
They must also provide not more than 50% of the financial support during the year and live with their child for more than half of the year.
They must also be claimed as dependent on their income tax returns and be a resident or at least have legal residency.
To qualify, the taxpayer must meet the income requirement that should not be more than $150,000 if married and filing jointly, or filing as a widowed or qualifying widow or widower.
If filing individually, the taxpayer must earn below $75,000.
California Key Dates For Stimulus Checks
The California inflation relief payments have been going out for over 3 weeks starting October 7. Governor Gavin Newsom is using some of the huge budget surpluses of $97 billion to send out $9.5 billion of this year’s budget to 23 million Californians, or around 60% of the total population.
The payments range from $200 to $1,050 for residents depending on filing status, the adjusted gross income for 2020, and the inclusion of dependents.
In a joint statement with Senate President Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Gov. Newsom states that the budget would address the most pressing needs of the residents of the Golden State. it would prioritize getting money back to millions of residents who continue to grapple with rising prices and global inflation.
The payments are being given based on the adjusted gross income and filing status, single or joint. The highest amount of $1,050 will go out to joint filers with a combined AGI of $150,000 or less and with dependents. While the presence of a dependent brings in an extra amount for residents, the number of dependents doesn’t make any amount to the stimulus check amount.
The payment has been divided into three tiers depending on the 2020 adjusted gross income. Residents filing individually and with an AGI up to $250,000 and those filing jointly and with a 2020 AGI up to $500,000 will get the Middle-Class Tax Rebate. But the rebate amount will be lesser as one moves up the income tiers. While those on the lowest tier with an individual 2020 AGI of $75,000 or less will get $350, an individual filer with a 2020 AGI between $125,000 and $250,000 will only get $200.