According to the Urban Institute, extending the Child Tax Credit expansion through 2025 would reduce child poverty by 40%.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The clock is ticking for Ohio families to ensure they get the benefits of Child Tax Credit payments for 2021.
The American Rescue Plan increased the benefit, and added advance monthly payments of up to $300 per child, which started in July.
There is a Nov. 15 deadline for families who do not file income taxes to register for the payments, and organizations are working to reach those who may be missing out.
Veronica Dahlberg, executive director of HOLA Ohio, which is helping folks in rural areas, explained their efforts include reaching migrant farmworkers, often living on the margins.
"In some cases, we're able to get several thousand dollars into a family, and they were literally almost, like, screaming on the phone," Dahlberg recounted. "They couldn't believe it. This is life-changing for these families that are living in extreme hardship."
It's estimated parents of up to 116,000 Ohio children may not be receiving the advanced Child Tax Credit payments. An online registration portal is available, at GetCTC.org/CTCOH.
Dahlberg noted HOLA Ohio has been inundated with calls about registering since launching a campaign to reach Spanish-speaking households.
"There's an element of people who are afraid of the tax credit," Dahlberg observed. "They don't know if they're allowed to get it. There was one person that got it and was wondering if they should give it back. There's a lot of misinformation out there."
Families who miss the deadline will still get the credit next year in a lump sum, by filing a tax return. HOLA Ohio and other community organizations run free tax clinics to help low-income filers. Dahlberg emphasized it is important to avoid the many inexperienced tax preparers who prey on immigrants.
"They don't put their names or sign the tax returns, and maybe don't do them correctly," Dahlberg explained. "We're trying to encourage people to go to certified tax preparers so that they can get what's fully due them."
Families who qualify for the expanded credit will receive a total of $3,600 for each child under age six, and $3,000 for each child ages six to 17.