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A plan to “lift millions of children out of poverty”: all about the new aid of up to $ 3,600 for each minor child

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For the first time, undocumented parents of American children will be able to obtain the payments. “I still can’t believe it,” says an immigrant, a single mother of four, who is eligible for more than $ 13,000. We explain how this benefit works.

Following the passage in Congress of the $ 1.9 trillion aid package, the most expensive and ambitious in the nation’s history, millions of families, including for the first time those of undocumented immigrants with American children, will have a chance to get out of poverty thanks to the expansion of the tax credit for underage children, say Democrats and experts

Parents or guardians would receive direct payments of $ 3,600 per year  ($ 300 per month) for each child under the age of 6 and $ 3,000 per year ($ 250 per month) for each child between the ages of 6 and 17.

The historic extension of the tax credit granted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for each child will arrive at the desk of the president, Joe Biden, signing this Friday afternoon.

Help could start arriving as early as July as the IRS adjusts to the new conditions.

Cash aid is estimated to have the potential to reduce child poverty by 50%, according to estimates by the Center on Poverty and Public Policy at Columbia University.

“This measure is the most significant,” says Representative Chuy García, a Democrat from Illinois. “It is going to lift millions of families, especially those with minor children, out of poverty.”

“I still don’t believe it ,” Heidi Gonzáles, an undocumented immigrant who is a single mother of four children with US citizenship. “There have been no jobs, you have to see where the money comes from to pay the rent,” added the woman.

The bill states that the benefits for these families will last for a year, but the Democrats who pushed for the proposal hope it will become a recurring aid, although this will have to be re-discussed and approved in Congress before the aid expire.

Eligibility criteria are the same as direct mailing checks of $ 1,400 per person. Parents who earn less than $ 75,000 a year and couples who earn less than $ 150,000. These amounts would decrease for those who earn more than previously stated.

While there is already a tax credit for each minor child, currently this is only $ 2,000 per year for children between the ages of 6 and 17. Now, the amount will go up to $ 3,000 for this category and $ 3,600 for children under 6 years of age.

In addition, families will now have the option to choose whether to receive the amount in a single annual payment or deferred in months or quarters, depending on the availability of the IRS, which will distribute the resources. This will give more flexibility to low-income families who often need the money in the short term.

Another important change is who is eligible for assistance.

Currently, families who do not earn a sufficient salary or do not owe anything in taxes to ISR, cannot obtain the full amount of the tax credit. Instead of the $ 2,000, they receive a maximum of $ 1,400.

This changes with the expansion in the stimulus package due to the pandemic. The poorest families will be able to obtain the $ 3,000 or $ 3,600 for each child in full.

It is estimated that the biggest beneficiaries will be the families of 27 million of the poorest children in the country, half of whom are black and Latino. In this way, 10 million children will be lifted out of poverty for the duration of the program.

Republicans, who voted unanimously against the measure in the Senate, have warned that the relief plan will further raise the country’s debt, which will have to be paid by future generations.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, has proposed a different approach to funding the tax credit, which would include cuts to other welfare programs for the poorest and the elimination of state and local tax breaks for the wealthiest.

“In a year when the program has to be renewed, it will be really important that there is some kind of Republican plan B or base of support to make it permanent and, something important, a strategy to pay for it,” said Samuel Hammond, the director of poverty and social policy at the Niskanen Center, an organization involved in previous legislation that addressed the problem of child poverty.

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