July 16, 2021

Gillibrand Urges New York Families To Sign Up For Child Tax Credit Benefits

Child Tax Credit Could Help Cut Child Poverty By 45%; Over 6,000 Children and Youth in Schenectady County Lived in Poverty Even Before the Pandemic

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand hosted a press conference at the Schenectady Community Ministries (SiCM), where she outlined the details of the historic Child Tax Credit (CTC) expansion. The Child Tax Credit will aid most working families with children in New York State, and the lawmakers are urging families to take all necessary steps to secure this crucial benefit. Starting July 15th, most families began receiving monthly payments of up to $250 for each child aged six to seventeen years old and $300 for children under the age of six. The American Rescue Plan Child Tax Credit is the largest anti-poverty measure in decades. Prior to its passage, tax relief was only available for individuals after filing taxes. 

“We promised that help was on the way, and now it’s here. That’s why I’m asking every New Yorker to talk to your friends and neighbors and make sure they know about how to access the Child Tax Credit,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I will keep pushing for these credits to be extended in our relief plans moving forward because this really is one of the greatest tools we have to help fight child poverty in this country and to help New York families thrive.”

“Through the largest pantry in the county, farming upwards of 1.5 acres of urban land, and managing a county-wide summer meals program for children and youth, the Schenectady Community Ministries has thousands of connections with far too many people that live in or close to official measures of poverty. Our main work with the community is to bridge the food insecurity gap. The availability of the Child Tax Credit, in cash, will provide thousands of families across the county with another way to bridge the challenges of poverty many face. Thousands of parents throughout Schenectady and New York State will have a financial opportunity and perhaps the mental space to embrace some of the dreams they have for their children - dreams of health, strength and opportunity,” said Reverend Doctor Amaury Tañón-Santos, Executive Director of Schenectady Community Ministries.

The senator was joined by Reverend Doctor Amaury Tañón-Santos, Executive Director of Schenectady Community Ministries, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, and other community leaders and advocates. SiCM is a partnership of 50 congregations for ministries of social service and social justice focused on food insecurity, family and youth, and diversity and acceptance. They provided nearly 60,000 meals to children in the city of Schenectady during the summer of 2020 and also distributed COVID-19 vaccines in their community. SiCM’s food pantry is the largest in Schenectady County and has provided food for those in need throughout the pandemic when need for these services reached an all-time high. In 2020, one in four Schenectady County children faced hunger, and approximately 23% of children relied on SNAP benefits even before the pandemic. The Child Tax Credit funding will assist over 6,000 children and youth in Schenectady County living in poverty and will help New York families afford food and other basic necessities.

Approximately 39 million households across the country are expected to receive benefits without need for further action, including the families of more than 3.5 million children under the age of 18 years old in New York State. Individuals who filed their tax returns for 2019 or 2020, or signed up to receive COVID-19 stimulus checks, will automatically receive the tax benefit. However, families that did not earn enough money to file income taxes in previous years, or that welcomed a new baby or child into their family in 2021, must visit childtaxcredit.gov to sign up.

Senator Gillibrand fought hard to deliver direct relief for New Yorkers in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. She pushed for the inclusion of several provisions in the relief package, including expanding eligibility for more low-income earning families to access the fully refundable Child Tax Credit. This critical investment targets low- and middle-income families. Families that did not earn an income are still eligible to receive the full credit. For the first time, the Child Tax Credit is also available to families in Puerto Rico and other US territories. Additionally, parents who are undocumented but whose children have a Social Security number are eligible for the credit, and can claim these benefits using their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

Background:

Qualifications to Receive the Full Child Tax Credit Payments:

  • Married couples with children under 18 and 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 Child Tax Credit, Totaling $166 per Child Each Month:

  • Married couples with children under 18 and income under $400,000
  • Families with a single parent (also called Head of Household) with income under $200,000

Non-filers can sign up for the Child Tax Credit here.

2019 Statistics on Children in Need in Schenectady County

Children and youth living below poverty

6,396 or 19.6%

Children and youth receiving SNAP benefits

7,771 or 23.2%

Children and youth receiving public assistance

1,824 or 5.4%

Children and youth receiving Supplemental Security Income

883 or 2.6%

Children receiving free or reduced-price school lunch in public schools

9,732 or 46.0%

General population in poverty (individual persons)

18,684 or 11.8%

The best way to get questions answered about the CTC is to contact the IRS directly. IRS can be reached at 800-829-1040, Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time. For constituents who need help filing, certain taxpayers may qualify to get free tax return preparation and electronic filing help at a location near where they live. They can find their nearest Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly site by calling 800-906-9887. Language assistance is available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and a number of different languages.

For constituents who cannot reach IRS or VITA, please contact our office for assistance by emailing casework@gillibrand.senate.gov or by submitting a request for help through the Senator’s website at https://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/help/help-for-new-yorkers.

For more information from the White House on the Child Tax Credit, please click here.