Thousands of Ohio kids could miss out on a brighter future
Let’s make sure all children get the expanded child tax credit.
The expanded child tax credit is already giving children the opportunity for a brighter future, relieving families of stress, and putting more money in families’ pockets to pay for the basics. While hundreds of thousands of Ohio families started receiving automatic monthly payments in July, thousands of eligible children and families in Ohio are at risk of not getting the resources and support they need. We can all help make families aware of the child tax credit and how to get signed up.
Over 1.25 million families across Ohio have received monthly child tax credit payments, due to the passage of the American Rescue Plan. These families are getting $300 per child under age 6 and $250 per child ages 6 to 17 each month through December of this year. The total child tax credit payment is $3,600 annually per child under age 6 and $3,000 per child 6 to 17. Families will receive the first half as monthly payments and the other half in a lump sum after parents or heads of households file their 2021 taxes next year. The IRS automatically signed up families who filed federal income taxes within the last two years or families who claimed an Economic Impact Payment (EIP, a stimulus payment) for a dependent child.
Thousands of children and families in Ohio, however, were not automatically signed up for the extra help. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimates that roughly 116,500 children from families with low wages in Ohio won’t automatically get the expanded child tax credit (CTC). The interactive map below highlights zip codes across Ohio where hundreds of children are at risk of missing out on the child tax credit payments.
Some 59,422 children in Ohio won’t automatically get the credit, because their parents or caregiver didn’t file federal income taxes in the last two years (the IRS didn’t require single parents with income below $18,650 and married couples with income below $24,800 to file income tax returns in 2020). Another roughly 57,120 children are estimated to be born this year with Medicaid coverage, which means their families would be immediately eligible for the CTC. If all these children get connected to the child tax credit, CBPP estimates an additional $384 million would support Ohio’s children and families who are paid the lowest wages after their households file taxes next year.
Adults must sign up by November 15 to get the advance child tax credit payments
Families who were not automatically enrolled need to file a simplified tax return or a full tax return to claim their credit by November 15 to get monthly payments between July and December 2021. If they miss this deadline, they need to file a tax return in 2022 to get the full child tax credit.
Since many of the families who didn’t automatically get signed up for the child tax credit also did not automatically get the federal stimulus payments, the potential benefit for these families is significant. Families who file returns now will likely become eligible for the tax credit and three previous rounds of Economic Impact Payments (and potentially the Earned Income Tax Credit). If all eligible children and families get signed up for the child tax credit and the Economic Impact Payments, CBPP estimates that an additional $675 million — $291 million for the Economic Impact Payments and $384 million for the child tax credit — would flow to Ohio children and families with low wages, which will be spent in local economies across the state.
Let’s make sure all of Ohio’s children get the expanded child tax credit
Parents and caregivers without internet access, secure housing, a social security number, who don’t speak English as their first language, or who are paid very low wages are all at risk of missing out on the payments.
Elected officials, state and county agencies, and community organizations can help families at risk of missing out get the child tax credit payments that they are eligible for.
Gov. DeWine can direct the Ohio Department of Taxation to work with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) and the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) to identify families at risk of missing out on the credit and provide them with information about how to sign up via text, email, and mail. State agencies could also include information about the child tax credit on state websites, including Ohio Benefits. ODJFS can help county job and family service agencies raise awareness among families they serve. ODM can let parents whose newborns are covered by Medicaid know that they need to take action to get the credit. New parents can sign-up and make the IRS aware of new infants by filing a tax return in 2022.
State and local lawmakers can use public resources to get all eligible children and families enrolled. We joined partners from the Ohio Children’s Budget Coalition to call on Gov. DeWine to use at least $10 million from the American Rescue Plan to help families sign up for the expanded child tax credit. Mayors and city councilmembers can also use resources to get families enrolled. The city of Philadelphia used city general funds, philanthropic dollars, and federal Community Service Block Grant funds to increase the capacity of organizations providing free tax preparation and to support community-based organizations in targeted communities.
Like many did with COVID-19 vaccines, state and local lawmakers can use their bully pulpits to inform the public about the benefits of the child tax credit. We need the same urgency around getting children and families connected to the child tax credit.
Finally, local organizations can help families get the child tax credit. Public schools, hospitals, community health centers, libraries, child care providers, Head Starts, Community Action Agencies, food banks, community organizations, community colleges, and faith-based organizations all serve children and families and are all trusted sources of information. They can provide information directly to parents and families about the credit, how to sign up, and where to get help signing up. Organizations can prepare now to direct parents and caregivers to free taxpayer assistance services, such as Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites, during tax season next year.
We can all help children and families get the resources and security they deserve. The resources below can help you and your organization get families signed up by November 15.
Education and outreach resources
Sign up for the Child Tax Credit today at GetCTC, by Code for America: Parents and caregivers can file a simplified tax return at this page. The page also provides information on eligibility, how to receive the payments, and frequently asked questions.
CBPP’s Get It Back Campaign Child Tax Credit & Stimulus Outreach Landing Page: This page provides outreach tools and other resources to help eligible individuals access the advanced Child Tax Credit payments and Economic Impact Payments.
https://thesocialpresskit.com/ctcoutreach: This page has resources community organizations can use to help with education and outreach, including FAQs, flyers, and draft social media posts in multiple languages.
No Kid Hungry – a toolkit for CTC outreach in schools: This is a toolkit for teachers, school and district administrators, counselors and any other school partners or educators that have touch points with low-income families.
This work was made possible with support from the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Thank you to Guillermo Bervejillo and Ben Stein of Policy Matters Ohio for developing the Interactive map highlighting where children in Ohio are at risk of missing out on the child tax credit.