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Extra monthly checks heading to millions of families


Almost every family with children in the country is expected to be eligible for direct payments from the U.S. government for the next several months.

This temporary child tax credit extension offers cash until year’s end. It was passed as part of a COVID-19 stimulus package, and the monthly payments started appearing in checking accounts Thursday.

How much money families will receive varies depending on income, the child’s age and the parent’s marital status. Some checks will be about $300 per child, others about $160 per child. The money varies based on eligibility.

More than 133,000 children in Monroe County are expected to be affected.

Pete Nabozny is director of policy for The Children’s Agenda and a proponent of the credit. He said it has the potential to improve the lives of many people in the Finger Lakes region.

“It’s going to have an enormous impact within this community just helping families make ends meet,” said Nabozny. “If you start looking at the data around it, it's estimated to pull about 8,000 kids out of poverty.”

But Nabozny is concerned that some low-income families won’t receive them. The IRS is distributing the money, but he said 4,000 families in Monroe County make so little, they aren’t required to file taxes.

“As of now, the IRS doesn’t know who those families are and isn’t making payments to those families,” said Nabozny.

Nabozny is urging families who don’t file taxes and may qualify to reach out to the IRS or the Empire Justice Center for help getting the money. 

People who have had a child since they last filed taxes should contact the IRS as well. 

The average benefit is roughly $3,000. The payments are temporary, although Democrats including Rep. Joe Morelle and U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer are all pushing to make them permanent.  

Qualifications to receive the full benefit:

  • Married couples with household income under $150,000.
  • Families with a single parent (also called head of household) with income under $112,500.

Qualifications to receive at least $2,000 of the credit, totaling $166 per child each month:

  • Married couples with household income under $400,000.
  • Families with a single parent (also called head of household) with income under $200,000.

Maximum per child payments:

  • $300 a month per child for children ages 0 to 5.
  • $250 a month per child for children ages 6 to 17.

Find more details and see if you qualify here.

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.