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Susan Tompor: Child tax credit brings extra cash and some sanity to family life

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Home and Consumer News

What would your family do with an extra $450 or more a month?

Many families have been seeing an influx of cash each month ever since July. And the next advance payment of the child tax credit is set to arrive Nov. 15 with another one around the corner on Dec. 15.

On average, qualifying families in Michigan saw an extra $444 in October alone, according to data from the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service. The payouts can run higher for those with more children who qualify. About 1.02 million payments were issued to families in Michigan.

So far, the advance payments for the child tax credit has put $1.8 billion in the pockets of Michigan families from July through October.

How are parents spending extra cash?

Families across the country have used this money to catch up after falling behind on bills; cover the family's monthly car lease payment and cell phone bill; pay health insurance premiums; pay for costs associated with sports, including travel hockey; set aside a little extra savings toward college; and deal with everyday school expenses, according to parents I interviewed for reporting this column.

 

The child tax credit was temporarily expanded in March as part of pandemic-related relief. The monthly payments are set to end in December unless Congress extends the program.

President Joe Biden's Build Back Better package released Oct. 28 calls for extending the advance monthly payments for one year into 2022.

Nationwide, 36 million advance payments were issued in October for a total of nearly $15.5 billion in the month. If you add up all the payments from July through October, families received $61 billion nationwide.

The average October payment across the country amounted to around $430.

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