COLUMBUS, Ohio — Many Ohio families will soon get extra cash to keep up with the cost of raising their kids.
The 2021 Child Tax Credit expansion passed as part of the American Rescue Plan Act provides $3,600 per year for each child under age 6, and $3,000 dollars for kids age 6 through 17.
David Brightbill, executive director of Washington-Morgan County Community Action, said half of the money is being doled out in monthly payments starting Thursday, July 15, and will continue monthly through the end of the year.
"As the unemployment benefits end, It's going to help families who are still struggling with high rent, with food costs going up," Brightbill explained. "It will put the money in their pockets that they might have gotten when they filed their income tax after the first of the year."
Ohio is one of more than a dozen states that terminated the extra $300 weekly pandemic unemployment benefit early. Gov. Mike DeWine said the decision was based on the need for workers, but a lawsuit is challenging the decision as unlawful.
Families will receive monthly payments of $250 per child between ages 6-17 and $300 per child under age 6. The remainder of the money will come when taxes are filed next year. Brightbill noted families not earning any income are also eligible.
"It's fully refundable," Brightbill pointed out. "If you wouldn't have been paying enough income tax to get it refunded, it's still fully refundable, so the families will get whatever amount that they're eligible for."
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, 13% of Ohioans were living in poverty, and Brightbill argued as people lost jobs during the pandemic, the need for basic supports increased.
"We've gone through quite literally hundreds of thousands of dollars since the first part of November last year helping with rent, and mortgages and utilities," Brightbill recounted. "And then for our senior nutrition program, we almost doubled the number of home-delivered meals because people couldn't get out."
Community Action Agencies in Ohio are educating the families they serve about the credit, and helping those who need to sign up for the benefit. About 39 million U.S. households will receive the new child tax credit, which is expected to cut child poverty in half.