Families throughout the state are talking about money. Conversations range from the nationwide formula shortage and preparing for back-to-school expenses to buying crypto currency and bracing for the Google stock split. While some families are struggling to survive, others are planning their next summer adventure.
Inflation has hit everyone’s wallets, purses, and fanny packs. Summer camps, child care availability, and overall affordability continue to cause anxiety. Summertime is for fun times, no worries, and unwinding with our families with outdoor barbeques. But as families check out for the summer, they could be leaving money on the picnic table and out of their bank accounts.
The answer to some of our unmet needs could be accessing cash benefits available to us through the Federal Child Tax Credit and/or the Connecticut Child Tax Rebate. Accessing these benefits is a right for those who are eligible and doing so is an act of civic responsibility and engagement.
In 2021, there was a big push to encourage families who had not filed their income taxes to file so they would have a chance at receiving the federal child tax credit and/or any stimulus monies that were still due to them. There were a few significant changes made due to the American Rescue Plan. “The American Rescue Plan increased the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for children over the age of six and from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under the age of six and raised the age limit from 16 to 17. All working families would be able to get the full credit if they make up to $150,000 for a couple or $112,500 for a family with a single parent (also called Head of Household).” And for the first time, families who had filed their taxes and were eligible for the federal child tax credit, received advanced automatic monthly payments from July 15 through December 15. Families were able to receive the balance of the credit when they filed their 2021 tax returns. The advanced, automatic payments helped many families pay bills, buy food, and get caught up on their financial obligations that may have been pushed off due to the pandemic.
SimplifyCT, a virtual VITA center can help families file their taxes for free. They have certified tax professionals who volunteer their services to ensure that families file their taxes and are able to receive these cash benefits. Free tax assistance is available in English and Spanish. Families can visit www.GetCTC.org/Kids or call 877-888-1770. This money does not count against federal benefits for food and cash assistance and most types of public and subsidized housing. SimplifyCT will also assist families with complex tax situations such as if a family member is not a citizen and does not have a social security number.
Connecticut is one of the twelve states in the country that passed legislation to enact a state level child tax rebate in addition to the federal child tax credit. Eligible Connecticut residents with children aged 18 and younger receive a one-time rebate up to $250 per child for no more than three children in the family for a maximum rebate of $750. The deadline to apply is July 31, 2022. Families can apply here or call the Department of Revenue Services hotline at 860-297-5999 for assistance.
State officials estimate that 350,000 Connecticut families will benefit from the Child Tax Rebate and the White House early tax filing estimates indicated that almost 400,000 Connecticut families had claimed a child and dependent care tax credit on their 2021 returns.2
Help spread the word about these opportunities so that we can get cash back into Connecticut’s family’s pockets this summer. This will provide more money to flow in our economy as well as more joy and stability for families in our great state.