Image courtesy of AECF

Among the provisions in the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) to provide COVID-19 relief is an expanded version of the Child Tax Credit. Approximately 1.1 million Kentucky children and their families will be eligible for the one-year expanded tax credit. This includes low-income families who have not historically made enough or have no income at all will be eligible.

The program will begin starting in July, and families with children can anticipate receiving checks from the IRS. For every child ages 0-5, families can receive up to $300 a month, which is a total credit of $3,600. For every child ages 6-17 living in their household, families can receive $250 a month, which is $3,000. Families do not need any earnings to qualify.

Families should file taxes by May 17 so they can get the Child Tax Credit, stimulus checks, and all the money that they and their children are owed. Filers can also use free online tax filing services found on the IRS website.

Organizations working with families, providers, and community groups will play an important role in letting families know they are eligible and connecting them to local resources to help them file taxes. The Center for the Study of Social Policy, the Children’s Defense Fund, and other members of the Automatic Benefit for Children (ABC) Coalition have developed an outreach toolkit with some resources that could help you bring this up with families you work with and guide them to the services they need. Additionally, the Cabinet for Health and Families Services and ThriveKY have put together a guide to help families navigate eligibility and a frequently asked questions sheet.

As we move forward with COVID-19 recovery efforts, Kentucky Youth Advocates will continue to keep child advocates informed about ways state and local ARP dollars can create a stronger, brighter Kentucky!