When Sarah Hutchinson, mom of a 5-year-old son, saw her $300 child tax credit payment deposited into her bank account Wednesday, she said she felt a sense of both relief and fear.
Hutchinson said she was thankful for the payment, which, as a single mom, she uses to pay for her son’s child care, but she also knew it could be the last one she receives under the child tax credit expansion, which went into effect in July after Congress passed President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan in March.
The program is set to expire on Dec. 31, meaning the monthly payments that Hutchinson and millions of other parents across the country received on Wednesday will be their last unless Congress votes to renew the program.
“I’m not looking forward to January,” said Hutchinson, 45, a librarian in Fredericksburg, Virginia, who is also facing more than $120,000 in student loan debt and thousands of dollars in medical bills accrued by her husband, who died in August. “I’m not sure how I’m going to work it out financially, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.”
Since July, around 35 million families each month have received the enhanced tax credit of up to $300 for each child under age 6 and up to $250 for each child ages 6 to 17
The families have primarily spent the money on kids’ school and child care expenses and essentials like food, rent, mortgage and utilities
Miesko works full time as an office administrator for a medical clinic while raising her two sons, ages 3 and 18 months. She said the $600 per month she has received since July helps her pay some of her rent and leftover bills and helps to cover her car insurance, which is necessary so that she can get to work.
“It has changed my life,” she said of the monthly child tax credit payments. “I have a little bit of a better job but still everything costs so much money and [the $600 monthly payment] is almost a whole other paycheck.”
Miesko shared her plea that the monthly payments continue with several U.S. senators this week on a Zoom call organized by MomsRising, an advocacy organization founded by moms.
The fate of extending the child tax credit expansion in 2022 lies with the Senate, which has yet to vote on the Build Back Better Act, legislation that passed the House of Representatives in November and includes a one-year extension of the monthly payments.
Miesko said she told senators she hopes the Senate stops “messing around” with the financial well-being of parents and passes the legislation.
“I really hope that they take it seriously and know that this really does impact everyday Americans greatly,” she said. “It’s sad how much regular Americans have to struggle and now they want to give [the monthly payments] for a couple of months and then take it back.”