Officials encourage families to file for tax credit

Wave Wire Services

EAST LOS ANGELES — As part of the nationwide Child Tax Credit Awareness Day of Action, local legislators and educators reminded Southland residents June 21 about the federal program that offers monthly payments to eligible families.

President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan increased the amount of the 2021 Child Tax Credit to support qualified families with children to $3,000 per child 6 to 17 years old and $3,600 per child under 6, beginning July 15. The payments will be distributed in installments of up to $300 per month.

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner said most families served by the nation’s second largest school district qualify for the federal tax credit.

More than 80% of the families we serve, as well as a considerable number of Los Angeles Unified employees, are eligible to receive money under this program,” Beutner said. “We want to help the half-million families we serve receive the Child Tax Credit, which can provide them with up to $3,600 per child to help them make ends meet.

We’re in regular dialogue with the largest group of families in the Los Angeles area who qualify to receive money under this program,” Beutner added. “It makes sense to try to tie the pieces together at schools to make sure the families we serve receive the benefits they’re entitled to.”

U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, called the program a “truly transformative policy achievement within the American Rescue Plan,” joining Beutner at the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA.

The past year was hard on all of us, but especially so for children and their working-class families,” the congressman said. “While we’re hopeful we’ve moved past the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of my low-income constituents continue to struggle to pay the bills and keep a roof over their head. But come July 15, millions of American families are going to get more help with payments through the enhanced Child Tax Credit.”

In the 34th Congressional District that Gomez represents, he said 91.8% of children will qualify to gain from the Child Tax Credit, representing about 139,200 children in need of food, child care, diapers, health care, clothing and other essentials.

The average estimated benefit for 41,300 households in his district is $3,200, and families with children in poverty will receive about $4,100 on average, according to Gomez’s office.

In a statement released June 21, Biden said the tax cut “will give our nation’s hard-working families with children a little more breathing room when it comes to putting food on the table, paying the bills and making ends meet. Nearly every working family with children is going to feel this tax cut make a difference in their lives, and we need to spread the word so that all eligible families get the full credit.

Not only did the American Rescue Plan increase the child tax credit to $3,000 for families whose children are between 6-17 years old and $3,600 for families with children under 6 years old, it allows half of that tax cut to be paid to families in advance through a monthly check or direct deposit,” the president said. “This year, a family with two young children would receive a tax cut of $7,200, with a monthly payment of $600 starting in July. Almost all families who have filed taxes in the last two years will receive this tax cut automatically.”

Biden said getting every eligible family signed up would “help bring us even closer to cutting child poverty in half. That is why we have designated June 21 as Child Tax Credit Awareness Day. Across the nation, organizations that advocate for children, faith-based organizations and elected officials are holding events, training volunteers, announcing strategies to sign up the lowest-income families, and using social media to explain how the Child Tax Credit will cut child poverty and why we must extend it through the American Families Plan.”

Details about the Child Tax Credit and how to sign up can be found in both English and Spanish at ChildTaxCredit.Gov.