AUSTIN, Texas – It’s the end of a long day at work for Jessica Vasquez. She works in a car wash during the day to support her two children. Vasquez says his total bills per month can run into the thousands.
“It’s about $ 3,000,” she said.
Even though she is a struggling single mom, she still chose not to receive the monthly child tax credit payments.
In 2021, parents received a boost to their bank accounts in the form of monthly payments of up to $ 300 for each child under 6 and $ 250 for children 6 to 17.
“I chose not to participate. The only reason I haven’t [opt in], it came out too quickly. I didn’t know what the outcome would be. I didn’t know if they were going to give too much money, if they were going to do the right numbers and how that was going to affect my income tax at the end of the year, “Vasquez said.
Vasquez instead chose to save his tax credit in the hope of a bigger tax return.
Child tax credit payments were extended in March of last year as part of the federal COVID relief plan, but those payments ended in December.
Lawmakers did not extend payments until 2022 when they failed to gain full support from Democrats, including Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV.
Monthly payments for some families have been used to cover the costs of necessities such as food, rent and childcare.
“This is an opportunity to help families through monthly payments,” said Matt Worthington, vice president of the City of Austin Early Years Council. “His [day care] Not only is it good for them socially, emotionally, and academically to start early, but it’s also something that helps families. It contributes to their economic well-being and prosperity and it contributes to the well-being and long-term prosperity of the child.
Economists note that the payments have had an impact on low-income families.
“It was a welcome credit for families who needed it most. Like I said before, to buy the ones that are most needed, whether it’s food on the table, rent, a mortgage payment, or just keeping the flow going, ”said Matt Patton, Executive Vice President of Angelou Economics.
Patton said the payments gave families an additional source of income that also had an impact on the economy.
“It’s an overall benefit,” he said. “When we are able to increase economic mobility and reduce poverty, especially child poverty, there are net benefits. “
Vasquez said that for many of his friends and neighbors, the payments meant food on the table, gasoline in the car and a roof over their heads.
“So this extra money is helping everyone in every way. You can’t look at somebody and say they’re going to use it for that. You don’t know someone’s life situation to know what they’re going to use it on, ”she said.