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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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(Updated July 12, 2021) 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. The payments start on July 15!

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 have filed their 2019 or 2020 taxes, or sign up via the IRS non-filer portal if they don’t normally file taxes. 

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, $112,500 for people filing as head of household, or $150,000 for people who are married and filing jointly. 

You can check your eligibility through the IRS, as well.

How Do I Get It? 

If you filed your 2019 or 2020 taxes, or if you used the IRS portal to register to get your stimulus payments last year, you will get the payments automatically.

If you haven’t filed taxes in recent years, there is an online IRS Non-filer Sign-up Tool where you can register to get your Child Checks. For help filling out this non-filer form, the Get It Back Campaign has a tutorial that will walk you through it.

If you need to update your information (for example, if your banking information has changed since you last filed taxes or you had a baby this year), or if you’d like to opt out of monthly payments and get any credits owed to you at tax time in 2022, you can do so through the Child Tax Credit Update Portal.

Additional info and details about eligibility are available through the White House FAQ page.

ParentsTogether is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit community of over 3 million parents, caregivers, and advocates working together to make the world a better place for all children and families.