CLEVELAND — Lost in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan were changes to the child tax credit that will soon put extra money into the pockets of Ohio parents.
"Ninety-two percent of Ohio kids are eligible for this,” said Senator Sherrod Brown, who helped to add the expanded monthly benefits into the American Rescue Plan.
It increases the child tax credit to $3,600 a year for each child under the age of six and to $3,000 for those between the ages of six and 18. The increases will be paid in $250 to $300 monthly payments starting July 15.
Senator Brown held a roundtable discussion earlier this year where Myesha Crowe of Cleveland, who is a mother of two young girls, told him it's money already spent.
"There are times when I feel like I'm paying a second mortgage for my children to be in child care where $700 a month is just too much but when you think about the future and the early development of your children the investment just seems like its mandatory, like you have to do it,” Crowe said. “So when I think about this help it just will be a great assistance."
The IRS will be in charge of the payments, the same agency that's still experiencing a backlog of 35 million returns. As head of the banking committee, Brown said he isn't concerned.
“I have been speaking to the Secretary of the Treasury from the day that she was confirmed on making sure that they could get the checks out monthly starting July 15, they were ahead of schedule setting this up. She is confident the checks will go out monthly," Brown said. "I have spoken with the new commissioner of the IRS, a Trump appointee who has been very cooperative and wants to make this work and I said this is as important as anything we have ever done in government.”
The credit will be available to individuals making up to $75,000 a year or couples earning up to $150,000. That's important because these monthly payments are an advance of that expansion, so it's money you would have received next April and right now it's based on what you made in 2020 or 2019—so if your circumstances improved in 2021 beyond those income thresholds you might want to opt out.
Individuals needn't do anything to opt in but Brown said it's important to still get the word out.
"I'm confident that this will be overwhelmingly successful. I know some people will be left out,” he said. “Your newscast on Channel 5 will help to make sure fewer people are left out and we'll continue to trumpet this in every way possible."
Parents of 2021 newborns are eligible for the monthly payments. They must first fill out a form in the still being set up IRS portal. If they don't, they'll still get the money in full when they file their taxes next April.