December 15, 2021 was the last monthly payment of the expanded Child Tax Credit under the American Rescue Plan Act. Since July, the monthly CTC payments have helped families pay for necessities, lifted millions of children out of poverty, and boosted parents’ ability to work. And, importantly, low- and moderate-income parents embraced receiving the advance monthly CTC payments established for the first time under ARPA.
In October, parents of children ages 17 or younger were asked in a national survey conducted by NWLC, CLASP, Children’s Defense Fund, Prosperity Now, and the Center for the Study of Social Policy, whether or not they preferred receiving the monthly CTC payments.
- 55% of respondents said they preferred getting a monthly payment;
- 26% of respondents said they didn’t prefer receiving monthly payments; and
- 19% of respondents said they didn’t know.
The fact that over half of the parents who had received monthly payments— who had incomes of less than $75,000—preferred the monthly payments is significant. In response to other questions in the survey, parents also indicated that the monthly payments reduced financial stress and improved family well-being in a number of ways.
Now that the monthly payments have ceased, families across the country are speaking up about how much more strained their finances will be without them. While families will receive the other half of their expanded CTC when they file their 2021 taxes, their wait will only become longer as they have already waited since December 15, 2021. Too many families were struggling paycheck to paycheck even before the pandemic, and now, as the omicron variant surges and additional school and child care closures loom, is no time to discontinue a policy that made a material difference in families’ lives.
That’s why policymakers need to act now. They need to listen to families, who are experts about what policies would help them the most, and extend the expansions to the CTC, including advance monthly payments.