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The vast majority of Hawaiian families with children under the age of 18 should start receiving monthly payments of up to $ 300 for each child starting this week as part of a pandemic stimulus package that is expected to help troubled families and lift thousands of children out of poverty should .
Local stakeholders, however, warn that some of the poorest families could lose if they are not helped sign the extended child tax credit signed by President Joe Biden as part of the US bailout plan.
“These are the families who are definitely in need of this type of help most, but without good outreach, many of them will miss it,” said Nicole Woo, director of research and economic policy for Hawaii Children’s Action Network.
The monthly payments, which run through the end of the year, could bring 43,000 children in Hawaii above or closer to the poverty line, according to a state analysis by the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities. A total of 278,000 or 92% of the state’s children are said to benefit from the child loan.
The extended loan gives nearly all families $ 3,000 to $ 3,600 per child this year. A couple earning up to $ 150,000 will get full credit, as will single parents earning up to $ 112,500. Half of the tax credit is distributed in monthly payments of $ 250 for children ages 6-17 and $ 300 for children under 6 years of age. These payments are expected to continue through December. The other half will be credited when families file their taxes for 2021.
The federal government has been introducing a child tax credit for about two decades, which has given a tax credit of $ 2,000 for every child under the age of 17 for the past few years. That credit was non-refundable, however, and very low-income families have often failed to benefit from it, Woo said. This year’s credit is refundable, which means families can benefit regardless of their tax liability status.
These changes expand the benefit of the loan for lower-income families. Nationally, at least 27 million more children are expected to benefit from the expanded child tax break, including 92,000 in Hawaii.
Proponents of this year’s child tax credit hope it will become an integral part of America’s safety net.
“A lot of our safety net programs are poverty-based and really restrictive, and if you go a dollar over the limit you get nothing,” said Beth Giesting, director of Hawaii. i Budget and Policy Center. “So it’s really great for families to have the money to use it the way they need it most.”
The increased tax credit is also not considered income and should therefore not affect other safety net programs such as Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program known as SNAP, which provides food aid.
Families who have not earned enough to file tax returns for 2019 or 2020 are still eligible for the benefit and can sign up through a portal on the IRS website at bit.ly/3zhNAZB by providing basic information, including your name, current postal address, e-mail address, date of birth, bank account details, if available, as well as social security numbers for yourself and your relatives.
Woo said it is important to contact homeless shelters and social service providers to ensure that Hawaii’s most economically vulnerable are aware of the tax credits and can sign up if they haven’t been auto-filled.
You can find more information about the extended child tax credit on the following websites:
>> Hawaii Children’s Action Network: hawaii-can.org/arpa
>> White House: Child Tax Credit.gov