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Monthly ‘Child Checks’ start in July—Find Out If You Qualify, and How Much You’ll Get

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The past year has been a hard one for millions of families. But more support is on the way. To help people make ends meet this year, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, which expands the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for 2021 to give families monthly checks for each child. 

Families can get: 

  • $3,600 ($300 a month) per child for children ages 0 to 5. 
  • $3,000 ($250 a month) per child for children ages 6 to 17. 

What makes this new policy different (and such a gamechanger for so many) is that you do not need any earnings to qualify. The IRS will be sending out monthly checks starting July 15, 2021. But it’s important to know that to begin receiving these payments on time, families need to file 2020 taxes (or update their information via the IRS portal coming in early July, if they don’t normally file). 

Once the payments start in July, most families will get $250 to $300 a month per child through December 2021. Families will get the remaining $1,500 to $1,800 per child when they file their 2021 taxes in Spring 2022. 

The Child Tax Credit payments will not affect Medicaid, SNAP/Food Stamps, TANF Cash Assistance, SSI or other public benefits. 

Is My Child Eligible? 

To be eligible, children must: 

  • Have a Social Security Number
  • Live with you for at least half of the year
  • Be under age 18 as of December 31, 2021

Children are eligible if they are your children, adopted children, stepchildren, half siblings, foster children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, or certain other relatives. The adult filing taxes must have a Social Security Number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. 

You do not need to have any earnings to get this credit. Families will qualify for a full credit if their income is below $75,000 for single filers, $112,000 for people filing as head of household, or $150,000 for people who are married and filing jointly. 

How Do I Get It? 

To get the payment on time in July, FILE YOUR TAXES! You should file even if: 

  • You did not file taxes in 2019 or 2020
  • You do not usually file
  • You do not have earnings

Additionally, an online IRS portal is expected to be available by July 1 where you can register to get your Child Checks (if you don’t normally file taxes), update your information, or opt out of monthly payments if you’d rather get one large check at tax time in 2022.

Find free tax help near you here:  

File your taxes for free online here:  

Dealing with school closures, childcare issues, or other challenges related to coronavirus? Find support, advice, activities to keep kids entertained, learning opportunities and more in our Coronavirus Parents: Parenting in a Pandemic Facebook Group.

For ongoing updates on coronavirus-related issues and questions that impact children and families, please find additional resources here.