“President Biden is delivering direct relief — or as many have come to find a saving grace — for our communities by including the expanded Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan, a historic relief bill that was passed just 50 days after he took office.”
Last week, the third payment of the expanded Child Tax Credit, included in President Biden and Democrats’ American Rescue Plan, hit North Carolina families’ bank accounts. In an op-ed published in The Reflector, a Kinston-based resident underscores how much of a difference these monthly tax cuts are making for communities in Lenoir and Greene Counties as well as across Eastern North Carolina devastated by COVID-19.
President Biden’s expanded Child Tax Credit is being provided to the families of over two million children in North Carolina and is expected to lift over 130,000 children in the state out of poverty. In August, roughly 142,000 payments of the monthly tax cut hit families’ bank accounts in North Carolina’s Third Congressional District, which includes Lenoir and Greene Counties. Studies have shown that the first few months of these payments have decreased child hunger and reduced financial anxiety for families.
The Reflector: Crystal Gwendo: Child tax credit extends lifeline to families in ENC
- Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1.3 million North Carolinians have contracted the coronavirus and nearly 16,000 have died. To say that the pandemic has devastated our communities wouldn’t do justice to the suffering that’s been caused.
- As someone who works at a nonprofit based in Kinston that provides services to low-income families in both Lenoir and Greene Counties, I’ve witnessed firsthand the degree to which the pandemic has taken a toll on the most marginalized in our communities. Families in rural counties like ours, particularly non-white households, have been hit the hardest.
- Just the other week, a mother I work with shared her own pandemic story with me. As the mother to three young children, every paycheck from her job at McDonald’s helps her family make ends meet. But when she contracted COVID-19 and needed to quarantine for the required two weeks, she received no paid time off. Without two weeks worth of payment, bills started piling up. She got behind on rent and struggled to put food on the table for her three babies.
The expanded Child Tax Credit was this mother’s only saving grace. These monthly tax cuts, which were included in President Biden and Democrats’ American Rescue Plan, started going out in July and provide payments of $300 to the families for each child under 6 years old and $250 to the families for each child between ages 6 and 17. With the help of the expanded Child Tax Credit, this mother was able to pay the rent she got behind on and afford groceries, helping to put a roof over her kids’ head and keeping them healthy and fed.
This is just one story. Many families across have similar experiences. In North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District, an estimated 81,000 families received the expanded Child Tax Credit in August. Marginalized communities are already at a disadvantage, but then throw a global pandemic in the mix, and the hopelessness is deafening.
There are parents in eastern North Carolina who are going into work even when they’re sick, or a child is sick, because they can’t afford to not get paid. While the federal government provided temporary relief through unemployment benefits and the rent moratorium, these programs are ending and the expanded Child Tax Credit remains a critical component of delivering families relief.
Don’t just take my word for it — multiple studies show much President Biden’s expanded Child Tax Credit is making a difference. One CNBC study found that in just one month alone the expanded Child Tax Credit reduced financial anxiety for 56 percent of families across the country with “more than half of those surveyed said the payment was a ‘huge deal,’ and another 40 percent said it was ‘helpful’ to their family budget.”
Another study found that over three million American households had enough to eat in July thanks to the expanded Child Tax Credit, particularly benefitting to Black and Latino households. And just the other week, a new study showed that making the Child Tax Credit permanent would reduce poverty to less than ten percent in almost every state, including decreasing child poverty by 44.3 percent in North Carolina.
Across eastern North Carolina, the impacts of COVID-19 have been devastating. President Biden is delivering direct relief — or as many have come to find a saving grace — for our communities by including the expanded Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan, a historic relief bill that was passed just 50 days after he took office. President Biden and Democrats in Congress are fighting to make these tax cuts permanent to ensure that families can not only get by, but thrive.