San Joaquin Valley residents could receive a monthly child tax credit of up to $300 starting July 15. The credit will be available to families who make up to $150,000 a year.
During a press conference Thursday, Fabiola Gonzalez, executive director of First 5 Fresno County, said many residents were struggling to pay rent long before the pandemic and that continued this past year.
She said a lot of families wrestled with a similar dilemma: “How do I make sure that my child is thriving at home if I'm worried about enough money for rent, and enough money for electricity,’’ she said.
The new child tax credit, she said, will help families pay for basic needs like rent and childcare.
“In addition to paying for basic needs, families who I spoke to share that they will also use the funds to pay for tutoring for children who struggle during virtual learning, to catch up on debt and to provide more enrichment tools and support for children with disabilities,” said Dr. Amber Crowell, associate sociology professor at Fresno State.
Congressman Jim Costa, who represents Merced County and parts of Fresno and Madera counties, said the tax credit will benefit 95% of the children in his district.
“This provides a lifeline to the middle-class, lower-middle-class and in my district,” he said, adding that it “lifts 27,000 children out of poverty.”.
In total, the child tax should assist 213,000 families in Costa’s Congressional District 16; 217,700 families in District 21 and 199,100 families in District 22, according to a Congressional analysis. The tax credit is set to expire at the end of the year, but Costa and local advocates are pushing to make it permanent.
Qualified residents who submitted their 2020 tax returns can expect an automatic payment. Residents who did not should go to irs.gov and click the “child tax credit” tab to sign up. Residents with ITIN numbers and parents of babies born in 2021 also qualify.