Some U.S. parents eagerly expecting their third enhanced Child Tax Credit payment last week say they experienced a delay in getting the money as expected. One family said that they received only a small amount of what they expected to get, but they did receive it.
The IRS said the emergency relief, which Congress approved earlier this year as a way to help millions of households suffering the economic effects of the pandemic, was sent September 15 to about 35 million families. The checks may arrive by mail and take several days or weeks before they reach their mailboxes. Others will receive a deposit directly to their account within a matter of days.
But delay worried some parents who had previously received payments as scheduled in July and August but said they didn’t get the September 15 installment as expected. CBS MoneyWatch was contacted by more than twenty-six parents to report the delay.
“I looked at it as reliable — and it should be as reliable as my dad getting a Social Security check every month,” said Tacey Harp, 38, a home phlebotomist in Banks, Oregon, who was expecting $500 to land in her account this week for her two children, who are 12 and 14. I set up bills, and planned my budget to expect that amount. “
Under the program, parents of eligible children under 6 receive $300 per child each month, while those with children between 6 and 17 get $250 per child.
Reduced CTC payments?
Some parents reached out to CBS MoneyWatch late last week to say they had received payment, but that the money arrived more than a week after they had expected it, and was only a portion of the amount they had anticipated. For instance, one parent who expected $500 received $313 instead. The IRS stated that checks were delayed because some taxpayers had recently updated their address or bank account on the IRS Child Tax Credit Update Portal. This affected married taxpayers who only made one address or bank change. “
The IRS stated that checks were delayed for some taxpayers who had made changes to their bank accounts or addresses on the IRS Child Tax Credit Update Portal. This affected married filing jointly taxpayers where only one spouse changed their address or bank account.
” If only one spouse changes an address or bank accounts, the IRS stated in a statement that CBS MoneyWatch. In these cases, the entire payment will be still distributed. The amount of the monthly payment can change depending upon tax returns that have been processed recently. “
Taxpayers should continue to check the CTC Update Portal for the latest payment information, the IRS advised.
Harp said she bought her daughter shoes last weekend and took her son to see a movie, partly because she and her husband expected to have the extra cash from the CTC payment to help with their budget. The payment did not arrive as expected yesterday.
“My bank has overdrawn,” she explained to CBS MoneyWatch. It’s very frustrating. “
In August, the IRS flagged a “technical issue” that caused about 15% of recipients who had received their CTC money via direct deposit in July to instead receive paper checks in August. Because the postal system takes days or weeks to deliver paper checks, it can take parents longer to get them.
The September delay won’t be a problem, according to Mark Steber, Jackson Hewitt chief tax officer. Because it takes a few days for money to arrive, he recommended parents keep checking their bank accounts. To ensure that their data is accurate, parents can check their Child tax Credit Update Portal .
Chris Walker, 37, a journalist in Madison, Wisconsin, told CBS MoneyWatch he was expecting a $250 Child Tax Credit payment (for his 13-year-old son) to land in his account by direct deposit on September 15. He said that he had called the IRS to verify that he did not receive a direct deposit. However, it wasn’t until later that he realized it might be an error. Walker stated that the glitch might take five business days for the correction. He also noted that delays in receiving the funds could “make it tighter around your household.” “
Reduction in child poverty
The latest payment marks the halfway point of the direct cash assistance, with three monthly payments remaining under the plan signed into law by President Joe Biden through the American Rescue Plan. Although the CTC doesn’t constitute a new tax credit the American Rescue Plan extended it to more low-income taxpayers. The credit is also paid half through six monthly checks.
The IRS has faced delays disbursing some COVID-19 relief funds, as well as making sure that all eligible people receive the payments. Earlier this year, millions of Social Security recipients were slow to get a third federal stimulus check, for example. Experts say that the monthly CTC checks have helped to decrease poverty and hunger in families with children. For instance, the share of family households with children that sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat dropped to 8.4% from 11% after the first check arrived, according to an analysis of Census data by the Senate Joint Economic Committee. Food and educational expenses ranked among the top uses of the checks, with 7 in 10 families putting the funds toward goods, services or paying down debt, the JEC report found.
Some Democratic lawmakers are pushing to extend the CTC program through 2025, although it remains unclear if that effort will succeed. Advocates would prefer that the CTC program be made permanent, noting its impact on reducing poverty among children.
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