Op-ed | To New York’s parents: Help is on the way

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
Photo by Dean Moses

New York’s families have had a tough year. Kids have missed sports, school, and birthday parties. Parents have faced difficult choices about childcare. Families have struggled to cover the costs of groceries and rent. 

The economic downturn and childcare crisis caused by COVID-19 shone a light on one of the most unacceptable truths about our society. The United States is the wealthiest nation in the history of humankind and yet 10 million of our nation’s children live in poverty. 

In New York City alone, 450,000 kids live in poverty. In America we pride ourselves on the fundamental promise of opportunity. The belief that from anything, you can go anywhere. But for millions of children growing up in poverty, who lack access to quality education, health care, and nutrition, the American dream can be almost impossible.

The painful reality of child poverty has always outraged me. So when Senate Democrats moved forward with the American Rescue Plan earlier this year, I fought tirelessly to include a historic expansion of the Child Tax Credit to send help to America’s families. Securing this expansion is one of the accomplishments I am proudest of as a Senator. 

Under this law, a vast majority of parents will begin receiving $300 every month per child under six years old; and $250 every month for each child aged 6-17. That adds up to $3,600 for every child under six, and $3,000 for every child 6 to 17.  

The first payments began on Thursday, July 15. This week,  millions of New York families are seeing extra money hit their bank accounts, the first in a series of monthly payments that will continue through the end of this year.

Single parents with incomes up to $112,500 — and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 – are all eligible for the full benefit.

Here is what you need to do in order to receive your payments. If you have already filed your taxes with the IRS in either of the past two years or both, you don’t have to lift a finger. You will automatically receive your monthly check if you qualify.

If you didn’t file taxes in either 2020 or 2019, there is a good chance you still qualify for the child tax credit. Please go online and register at irs.gov/childtaxcredit. Spread the word to your friends, family, and neighbors. If you have any questions, please reach out to my office. We are ready to help.

All told, this policy is expected to lift more than four million children out of poverty, cutting the childhood poverty rate almost in half. It is the single largest effort to cut child poverty in the last half century.

In other words, it’s a really big deal.  

I know families who’ve told me they’re going to spend the little extra cash on fixing their car, on rent that they’ve fallen behind on, and on basic medicine for their kids.  

This is about giving American families the extra lift they need to recover from the COVID pandemic. It will be a boon for middle-class New Yorkers and families across the country who still need help making ends meet.  

I am happy to say help is on the way for the vast majority of New York’s parents. 

Senator Charles Schumer, a Brooklyn native, represents New York in the United States Senate, and serves as Senate Majority Leader.