The Child Tax Credit (CTC) is one of the most important tax cuts for working families in more than a generation. The American Rescue Plan increased the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for children over the age of six and from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under the age of six, and raised the age limit from 16 to 17. Just four months after the passage of the American Rescue Plan, families of 60 million children started to receive monthly payments, on the same day of every month, providing relief in every corner of the country. Moreover, families of 26 million lower-income children are now receiving the full credit for the first time – previously these families would have received less than the full credit because their incomes were too low. The number of Black and Hispanic families eligible for the full CTC also has doubled.
Most families are automatically enrolled in the Child Tax Credit, but those who weren’t required to file a tax return in the last two years, and who didn’t sign up for stimulus payments from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during the pandemic, need to sign up to receive payments.
Before the first payments went out, the Biden-Harris Administration automatically enrolled non-filer families with roughly 729,000 children in monthly Child Tax Credit payments based on information they provided to the IRS last year to sign up for Economic Impact Payments.
The Administration is determined to build on this progress and ensure this crucial relief gets to all eligible families. That’s why the White House launched a whole-of-government effort to drive awareness of and sign-ups for the Child Tax Credit. Agencies across the federal government have heeded the call to reach as many children and families as possible.
Whole of Government Effort to Drive Enrollment in the Child Tax Credit
Department of the Treasury
- Training thousands of people to serve as Child Tax Credit navigators. To facilitate new enrollments, the White House and Treasury Department collaborated with a non-profit, Code for America, to create a non-filer sign-up tool that is easy to use on a mobile phone and available in Spanish. The White House and Treasury are partnering with federal agencies, state and local governments, national organizations, and community groups to train thousands of people across the country to serve as navigators who can walk families through the Code for America non-filer sign-up tool to enroll in the Child Tax Credit. The navigators are trusted messengers within their communities, providing approachable, hands-on expertise to non-filers. The White House and Treasury have arranged over 40 navigator trainings, with more to come in the weeks ahead.
- Aggressive outreach on the ground and online to reach families. The IRS also embarked on an extensive communications and education effort to reach people who may be eligible for the advance CTC payments, with a special focus on reaching out to underserved communities across the country, as well as non-English speaking communities. As part of this ongoing effort, the IRS hosted free tax preparation days in nearly 30 cities across the country in June and July, has participated in more than 250 partner events on CTC, developed online materials and toolkits, and more.
- Launching a new partnership with Head Start to provide direct sign-up assistance in 16 cities. AmeriCorps Seniors is partnering with the Administration for Children and Families, the Office of Head Start, and the National Head Start Association to provide targeted support to non-filers in 16 cities across the country. The partnership will bring Head Start staff and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers to help families sign-up during the fall. Through this partnership, AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers will be able to serve onsite at designated Head Start centers for an agreed upon length of time. Head Start Center Family Services Staff will conduct individual screenings to identify prospective non-filers, who will in turn work with AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP volunteers to walk through the details of CTC, determine eligibility, and support their navigation through the non-filer portal, resulting in the enrollment of eligible non-filers.
- Extended program flexibility to facilitate Child Tax Credit outreach and enrollment efforts to more than 4,000 full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members. The guidance provides temporary program flexibility related to Child Tax Credit activities to all currently serving AmeriCorps VISTA members and sponsors. This opportunity is available to 4,000+ currently serving VISTA members in all 50 states and territories. The flexibility allows interested sponsors and members to include Child Tax Credit outreach, education, and individualized navigation into their current VISTA project assignments.
- Launching partnership with HUD for CTC enrollment. AmeriCorps VISTA is entering into a partnership with HUD, working to mobilize over 200 HUD-VISTA members to enroll HUD-assisted families for CTC.
Social Security Administration
- Published instructions for Educating the Public About the Impact of Child Tax Credit and Advanced Child Tax Credit on Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The instructions, which are publicly available, provide guidance to 27,000 employees in over 1,200 local offices nationwide on how to educate individuals with children who are applying for or receiving SSI about the CTC and the advanced CTC payments and how the CTC should not affect their SSI benefits. This includes instructions to employees for providing guidance to SSI applicants and recipients about the Code for America online tool and reminds employees about existing policies regarding the impact of federal tax credits on SSI.
- Conducting five-week national marketing campaign to reach low-income individuals, including people who receive SSI and Social Security benefits, directing individuals to visit www.ssa.gov/eip to learn how to claim the advanced CTC payments and missing EIP by using the Non-Filer Sign-up Tool developed by Code for America. This effort is estimated to generate 1.5 billion viewing and listening impressions.
Department of Health and Human Services
- Embedding Child Tax Credit training and outreach into dozens of HHS programs. These programs fund community resource centers, referral networks, and direct services. This effort is focused on reaching people in areas of greatest needed, as well as serving the most under-resourced and disconnected families including runaway and homeless youth, victims of domestic violence, victims of trafficking, child welfare-involved, refugee families, Native American families, and low-income families with young children.
- Launching an innovative parent-led CTC enrollment pilot in New England. Parents are often the best trusted messengers within a community. ACF is launching a pilot to test whether parent-led messaging and trusted navigators in safe civic locales such as schools, libraries, parks, and community agencies can increase sign-ups. As part of the Whole Family Approach to Jobs Initiative, parents will be messengers for other parents. Parents who have not yet signed up will then be matched with safe navigators in familiar settings. The parent messengers will meet regularly to share outreach lessons. This parent peer-to-peer learning exchange will occur within and across participating states to reach as many parents as possible. If successful, this model may be replicable.
- Launching partnership with HUD to reach individuals and families who experience domestic, sexual and dating violence. ACF’s Family Violence and Prevention Services Program is partnering with HUD’s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs to conduct navigator training for grantees and providers that serve individuals and families who experience domestic, sexual, and dating violence, as well individuals that participate in HUD’s Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS Program. Building on these efforts, ACF and HUD will also explore ways to reach families served by additional of our programs.
- Connecting with parents of young children in partnership with the Department of Education. With the Department of Education, ACF will host a joint webinar in Spanish for parents of young children. ACF will also work with national parent organizations to host webinars in their communities, scheduled during non-traditional work hours, including weekend and evening hours to accommodate working families.
- Launching a new Head Start/AmeriCorps partnership in 16 cities across the countries, as outlined above.
- HHS staff in regional offices across the country collaborate on outreach. Regional Operations offices are meeting to share tactics, strategies, and messaging with a focus on community and state strategies to reach those who have not yet signed up for the Child Tax Credit.
The Department of Education
- Promoting CTC in back-to-school efforts, including incorporating CTC enrollment in the Return to School Roadmap parent checklist provided to families and organizations (in English and Spanish) and sharing CTC materials with membership of the National PTA, Superintendents Association, Council of Great City Schools, Elementary and Secondary Schools Principals Associations, school public relations association, Unidos, National Urban, and faith-based organizations.
- Training school and out-of-school staff as CTC enrollment navigators for families, including staff from community schools, promise neighborhoods, 21st century community learning centers, Salvation Army, YMCA, National Urban League, Communities in Schools, and Unidos.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Mobilizing thousands of on-the-ground staff to reach 3.3 million children who live in HUD-assisted households, including 897,000 children under the age of six. HUD is working with public housing authorities, multifamily housing property managers, resident services providers, housing counselors, Continuums of Care, victim service providers and tribal organizations to conduct 10 CTC navigator trainings in September in an effort to reach the 1.6 million HUD-assisted households with children and thousands of families experiencing homelessness. These trainings will target the staff at the over 3,000 Public Housing Authorities (PHA), the nearly 2,000 PHA-based service providers, 2,000 tribal housing partners, and nearly 400 Continuums of Care. Other trainings will target the roughly 16,000 housing counselors, as well as thousands of property managers and resident service providers.
- Driving CTC enrollment through interagency partnerships. HUD and HHS are partnering to provide navigator trainings to victim service providers to reach survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. HUD is also working with AmeriCorps to mobilize over 200 HUD-VISTA members to enroll HUD-assisted families for CTC.
- Releasing a digital bilingual toolkit. HUD has developed a digital toolkit to reach the 1.6. million HUD-assisted households with children. Content was created in English and Spanish and connects families to the new, mobile-friendly, bilingual Code for America non-filer portal. The toolkit makes clear that other benefits will not be affected by the CTC in any way and is being disseminated by the Office of Field Policy and Management (FPM) through social media, navigator trainings, and the creation of a new site on HUD.gov to house CTC resources.
Department of Labor
- Issuing guidance to encourage sign-up activity at the more than 2,400 American Jobs Centers across the country. The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) is issuing guidance this fall in the form of a Training and Employment Notice to state workforce agencies, state workforce development boards, local workforce development boards, and staff across roughly 2,400 American Jobs Centers (AJCs), making them aware of the CTC and encouraging AJCs to help enroll workers in financial supports such as the Child Tax Credit. A navigator training will be shared with all AJC staff and will be available on DOL’s WorkforceGPS website. In July, the ETA sent materials on the Child Tax Credit to over 2,500recipients that represent the public workforce system with a request for them to share with customers of the AJCs, partner organizations, and other constituents.
- The Women’s Bureau has coordinated roundtables with working parents, community-based organizations, and civic and policy leaders on the Child Tax Credit and has disseminated information on CTC to over 140,000 stakeholders. The Women’s Bureau will also include CTC as a focus in their new Fostering Access Rights and Equity (FARE) grant program which aims to help low-income women workers learn about and access their rights and benefits, as well as create and co-create print, video and other informational content to share across its regional offices and network of community stakeholders.
Department of the Interior
- The Bureau of Trust Fund Administration is reaching over 200,000 Individual Indian Money (IIM) beneficiaries through at least two direct mailings in the coming weeks. Over 200 staff and contractors who work at the Bureau of Trust Fund Administration and in the Trust Beneficiary Call Center are being trained on how to support enrollment of IIM beneficiaries in the Child Tax Credit.
- The Bureau of Indian Education is training school counselors, social workers, and other school leaders on how to enroll families in the Child Tax Credit. The BIE has also distributed fliers to all BIE school leaders for distribution to parents and guardians, and to the 33 Tribal Colleges and Universities funded by the BIE.
U.S. Department of Agriculture: Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)
- Sent a letter to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) state directors encouraging their engagement in enrolling SNAP households in the Child Tax Credit and reminding them that CTC does not count as income for SNAP purposes.
- Issued a policy memorandum to all Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) state agencies highlighting the Child Tax Credit and the exclusion of it when calculating income for WIC eligibility.
- Promoting navigator trainings for thousands of front-line benefits staff. USDA is publicizing trainings directly to state and local WIC and SNAP program staff, and through the American Public Human Services Association, National WIC Association, and the National Indian and Native American WIC Coalition.
The Department of Transportation
- Shared Child Tax Credit information with more than 40,000 people in a newsletter, including most transit agencies in the nation, encouraging transit agencies to help amplify the CTC to customers of their public transit systems that may benefit from the credit.
An Unprecedented Impact on Millions of Families
In just three months, the Child Tax Credit’s impact on children and families is unprecedented and consistent. According to the Census Pulse survey, food instability among all families with children fell by 24% immediately after the first payments went out. A Columbia University analysis found that low-income families with children who received the first monthly payment experienced a 43% decline in food insufficiency. The analysis also found that the share of parents who missed mortgage or rent payments and who reported having difficulty with expenses fell with the delivery of the first payment.
The American Rescue Plan increased the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for children over the age of six and from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under the age of six, and raised the age limit from 16 to 17. All working families will get the full credit if they make up to $150,000 for a couple or $112,500 for a family with a single parent (also called Head of Household) – providing parents with extra help to cover the costs of raising their kids.
For the first time, people will receive the Child Tax Credit in monthly payments. For every child 6-17 years old, families are getting up to $250 each month, and for every child under 6 years old, families are getting up to $300 each month. As of September 2021, the Child Tax Credit is already reaching families of roughly 60 million children, with nearly 9 in 10 families receiving it as an automatic direct deposit on the 15th of every month. People who don’t use direct deposit will receive their payment by mail around the same time.
Almost any family with one or more dependent children under 18 is eligible. Signing up for Child Tax Credit payments does not affect other benefits and may also allow families to get previous stimulus payments they have not collected.
For more general information about the Child Tax Credit visit www.childtaxcredit.gov.