Families of 229,000 Maine children eligible to receive first monthly payment as part of enhanced Child Tax Credit

Biden administration launches new web portal to sign up, manage automatic payments

AUGUSTA, MAINE — President Joe Biden has declared today “Child Tax Credit Awareness Day” to raise awareness about the transformative improvements to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) approved as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). These improvements could reduce child poverty by 40 percent, according to analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Congress increased the amount of the credit for 2021 from $2,000 per child to $3,600 for children under 6 years old and $3,000 for children between 6 and 17 years old. And for the first time ever, families with children, even those with limited or no income, can receive up to half their CTC as advance payments on a monthly basis, rather than as one lump sum when they file their taxes. This will provide much-needed assistance to families sooner, so they can make ends meet month-to-month.

Biden also announced the rollout of new online portals that families can use to sign up for and manage their CTC advance payments. Families who have already filed 2019 or 2020 taxes or who signed up for stimulus payments will automatically receive advance payments in July.  Families who have not yet filed or aren’t typically required to file taxes because their incomes are too low will be able to sign up through a new online portal available here.

An estimated 229,000, or 90%, of Maine children live in households that could receive their first payments next month, when the Biden Administration has indicated payments will be distributed.

“The economic security of Maine families is important not only to them, but to our whole state, and families have had a very tough 15 months,” said Robyn Merrill, Executive Director of Maine Equal Justice. “Families need support to fuel an equitable recovery, and the Child Tax Credit is a significant boost which will lift 10,000 kids out of poverty. The American Rescue Plan Act’s improvements to the CTC will make make it easier for families with kids to afford housing, food, clothing, health care and child care. We should do all we can to see that every Maine family  claims their credit.”

Approximately 65.6 million American children will benefit from improvements to the CTC, including roughly half of all Black and Latinx children, whose families, along with other families of color, are disproportionately employed in low-wage jobs because of historic and ongoing discriminatory policies and practices.

Programs like the CTC that provide relief to families with low income are linked with improved prospects for children including greater health outcomes, higher math and reading scores, less use of drugs and alcohol, and higher rates of college entry. But to fully achieve these long-term benefits, Congress must make permanent the ARPA’s temporary improvements to the CTC. President Biden has proposed extending the improvements as part of his American Families Plan, which Congress is considering as it develops economic recovery legislation later this year.

“This year’s expansion of the Child Tax Credit will help many Mainers make ends meet, but without action from Congress, the rug will be pulled out from under those families when expanded eligibility and benefits expire in 2022,” said Garrett Martin, Executive Director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy. “Our elected officials must make these improvements permanent to help improve the lives of children, from all races and backgrounds, for generations to come.”

For more information on the Child Tax Credit, Mainers can visit Maine Equal Justice’s new resource page or childtaxcredit.gov.