The child credit comes as 2.5 million women dropped out of the workforce this past year.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill dubbed the American Rescue Plan into law, the bill not only had a $1,400 stimulus payment for most Americans, but it also included something never before seen in the U.S.: A child benefit credit to be paid out monthly.
For families making less than $150,000 a year, the benefit will provide $300 a month per child under age 6 and $250 a month per child ages 6 to 17.
On top of that, it also allows most parents to claim up to $1,800 for kids on their 2021 tax return. In total, the relief bill will give families up to $3,600.
So, what does this and the stimulus money mean for struggling families? For some, it’s a lifeline.
“Between kids and working and figuring out stuff, it’s been like, you have the whole world on your shoulders basically,” mother-of-two Miriam McKinnis admitted.
McKinnis said she gave birth to her second child in April 2020, at the height of the pandemic. Despite needing to pay bills and wanting to return to work, McKinnis hit a snag. She, like so many other working moms, said she couldn’t find safe but affordable childcare.
“And it was $1,400 for my daughter, who is 11 months old for five days and then $1,300 for my son who is 3 years old, which is like $2,800 month,” she said.
McKinnis is not alone.
In January, the National Women’s Law Center analyzed job report data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found more than 2.5 million women dropped out of the workforce this past year, with female workforce participation dipping to 57% – the lowest it’s been in three decades.
McKinnis said she was able to pick up part-time shifts at Viva Chicken, thanks to family members helping to watch her kids, but she said without childcare she can afford, she can’t work more hours, and without more hours, she can’t afford childcare.
“It definitely was helpful and definitely was appreciated, and I’m glad that they passed it,” McKinnis said of the new COVID-19 stimulus relief bill.
McKinnis said her stimulus check has already hit her bank account.
“I bought enough Pull-Ups and wipes to last us a couple of months, just trying to be smart with it,” she said. “I paid their enrollment fee for school.”
McKinnis said she was also recently approved for a voucher, so she hopes to now have her kids start childcare in a couple of short weeks.
“As soon as they go to school, I can start working more,” she said, adding now that she feels a little ahead, she’d also like to start saving.
“Because we’re never able to save enough money because we always have just enough or just a little bit over,” McKinnis said.