Stimulus Check Update: 3.7 Million Kids Plunged Into Poverty Without Enhanced Child Tax Credit

  • In 2021, the expanded Child Tax Credit was expected to lift millions of youngsters out of poverty.
  • This year, 3.7 million children have slipped into poverty due to the lack of the program.
  • The increased Child Tax Credit was a financial lifeline to many families last year, allowing them to make ends meet.

Furthermore, the maximum value of the credit increased from $2,000 in 2020 to $3,600 in 2021 for kids under 6 and $3,000 for children aged 6 to 17, with the credit being completely refundable in 2021 for children aged 6 to 17. This means that even if there is no tax liability, households could still receive their money in full.

In addition, recipients will receive half of the increased Child Tax Credit in monthly installments, a significant benefit. In July, this series of payments began hitting customers’ bank accounts and lasted until December.

President Biden included legislation in his Build Back Better plan to ensure that the increased Child Tax Credit will continue to be available in 2022, complete with monthly payments.

However, that legislation has come to a grinding halt in the Senate and appears unlikely to succeed. As a result, there have been no monthly installments sent out this year. And it’s already having a significant influence on millions of kids around the world.

Poverty rates are rising.

According to new research from Columbia University, during late 2021 and January 2022, an estimated 3.7 million children would have fallen below the poverty line if a significant amount had not increased the Child Tax Credit. Children of color and Latinos have seen the greatest rises in poverty rates, respectively.

Because, according to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities review of U.S. Census Bureau data, 91% of low-income parents used their quarterly Child Tax Credit payments to fund basic requirements, this isn’t surprising.

However, it does not change that increased poverty rates are significant. The good news is that child poverty rates tend to decrease during tax season, encouraging. This is because many families receive a tax refund during this period.

As a result, we could see lower poverty rates in the following months as more people file their tax returns and receive refunds from the Internal Revenue Service.

Also, remember that tax refunds for families with children may be smaller overall this year because they will receive half of their Child Tax Credit in 2021, which means that their refunds may be smaller overall.

Must check: Pennsylvania unemployment recipients getting tax bills for money they didn’t get

2022 could be a dire year for poverty prices

Although the expanded Child Tax Credit may be reinstated in 2022, such monthly payments are not on the table now.

Furthermore, when so many households struggle to keep up with rising living expenditures in the face of escalating inflation, this might have fatal consequences.

According to researchers, unless the federal government restores the increased Child Tax Credit, child poverty rates could remain stubbornly high after April and throughout 2022.

Put, if lawmakers do nothing, the Child Tax Credit will not be repealed or eliminated. Instead, it will revert to its previous limit amount of $2,000 per transaction.

However, in that scenario, the money will not be fully refundable, and it will also not be distributed in the form of monthly payments. Furthermore, the simple fact of waiting to get that money might place many families and the children they assist in a terrible financial situation.

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Romney Pushes for Enhances Child Tax Credit, but With a Catch

Thousands of households benefited from the increased Child Tax Credit in 2021.

The maximum value of the credit grew from $2,000 in 2020 to $3,600 in 2021 for children under the age of six and from $3,000 in 2020 to $3,000 in 2021 for children aged six to seventeen; the credit also changed to become completely refundable. Families that do not owe any taxes may be able to collect their money in full.

Another significant improvement to the credit last year was that half of the debt was paid in monthly installments instead of all at once. In July, receivers’ bank accounts were credited with the first Child Tax Credit payment, and payments continued until December.

President Joe Biden wanted to prolong the enhanced credit line until 2022 and keep the monthly payments up to date. As part of his Build Back Better strategy, he included laws of this nature.

At this moment, however, the bill has become blocked in the Senate and is most certainly dead, leaving families who rely heavily on the Child Tax Credit in a difficult situation.

Meanwhile, Republican Senator Mitt Romney has stated that he supports the extension of the enhanced credit rate. The only snag is that there is a catch. He wants to put restrictions that could make it more difficult for some recipients to qualify for benefits in the future.

Could those monthly payments return?

Last year, the Child Tax Credit’s monthly installment payments assisted in lifting millions of children out of poverty and making it easier for more families to make ends meet on a more consistent basis.

Because of excessive inflation, families with children are now more in need of that money than they have ever been.

Mitt Romney has quietly lobbied for the reinstatement of the enhanced credit line in the budget. He does, however, wish to impose a job condition so that stay-at-home carers would not necessarily be eligible for the credit in conjunction with their work.

He’s not the only one, either. Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, believes that a work condition for the Child Tax Credit should be included.

Build Back Better has come to a grinding halt in the Senate because Manchin has made it clear that he would not support the increased Child Tax Credit in its current form.

On the other hand, adding a labor requirement might change that — and bring those monthly installment payments back into the picture.

In addition to a work requirement, Manchin supports the implementation of severe income limitations for eligibility for the Child Tax Credit. Many middle- and upper-income earners and those with higher incomes were eligible for the credit last year.

Families are disturbed without that extra money.

According to a study conducted by Columbia University, the child poverty rate increased from 12 percent to 17 percent in January 2022 due to the discontinuation of monthly Child Tax Credit payments.

Those funds are desperately required to assist families in dealing with the rising cost of living.

That raises the question of whether such funds should be returned in a way that excludes parents who are unable to find a job or for whom working is not practicable because of constraints such as excessive childcare fees.

It’s a difficult question to address straightforwardly. However, it is an issue that legislators will need to solve before more children fall into poverty, thereby negating the success that the Child Tax Credit helped to achieve last year.

Best Checking Accounts of March 2022

Chequing accounts give you a secure place to store your money while also allowing you to make quick payments and withdrawals. They are offered through traditional financial institutions and an expanding number of online financial institutions.

The finest checking accounts make it simple to access your money, provide flexible withdrawal options, and are cover by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). We also seek accounts with low or no fees, a high annual percentage yield, and ATM reimbursement.

We’ve scoured the banking industry for the best checking accounts available to you, and we’ve narrowed it down to our top recommendations.

What is a checking account?

A checking account is a kind of bank account intended to spend money. The majority of checking accounts include a debit card. Account-holders can also use online bill payment services to pay their monthly bills.

It stands in contrast to a savings account intended for — you guessed it — saving. The absence of debit cards in savings accounts is because banks do not anticipate spending the money in your savings account.

What to consider for in a checking account

The following are typical characteristics of the best checking accounts:

  • Fees are kept to a minimum: There is no reason why anyone should be required to pay an account maintenance charge. Hot tip: Fees (of any kind) are less common with online banks than with traditional banks.
  • High-interest rates: A large number of checking accounts offer interest payments. When comparing accounts, check at each account’s annual percentage yield — sometimes known as the APY.
  • ATM fee reimbursement: Some of the best online checking accounts repay ATM costs that other financial institutions charge.
  • Locations of convenient ATMs or branch offices: Traditional banks with many brick-and-mortar facilities can be extremely handy for many customers. On the other hand, some online banks have extensive ATM networks and simple deposit methods, including those that accept cash.

Why do you have a checking account?

Most persons in the United States have checking accounts, and there’s a strong explanation for the widespread use of this type of financial institution.

Listed below are a few compelling reasons to open a checking account, whether it’s an online checking account with a high rate of interest or a traditional brick-and-mortar bank:

  • The ability to spend money from a checking account is quite convenient when you have an emergency expense, an unexpected payment, or even just a fun shopping spree.
  • There are several methods for withdrawing funds from a checking account, including checks, debit cards, online banking, and mobile wallets.
  • There are usually no restrictions: Contrary to popular belief, most bank accounts impose spending restrictions. You can only make six withdrawals every month if you have a savings account.
  • Furthermore, with a certificate of deposit (CD), you are unable to withdraw any money without incurring a penalty (unless your CD has matured — but waiting for it to mature can take months).
  • Protection: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) ensures all checking accounts with deposits of up to $250,000. In the unusual event that your bank fails, you will not be liable for a single cent.
  • Additionally, consumer fraud protection services are now common and free of charge in many checking accounts, both nationally and locally, in many different financial institutions.

Are checking accounts free?

The short answer to this question is “maybe.” Checking accounts are quite convenient to have. You do, however, have to pay for it, and not simply with interest rates that are either extremely low or non-existent.

Many banks charge various fees for checking accounts, notably those supplied by brick-and-mortar establishments, well-known in the financial industry.

There is a slew of these fees and levies. Here are three of the most frequently encountered:

  • One of the most typical charges for a conventional checking account is the monthly maintenance cost (also known as the service charge or the service charge plus a fee, among other names).
  • It is usually between $5 to $15; it might vary greatly. However, banks will not charge this fee in most cases, provided the customer fits specified criteria.
  • These can include completing a certain number of transactions on the account’s debit card, setting up a recurring direct deposit from an employer, or maintaining a certain minimum continuing balance amount in the account.
  • A fee for overdrawing a checking account has been a standard levy for many years, and it is still in use today. Should you spend more money than you have available in your account, you will be charged an overdraft fee.
  • The going charge for an occurrence is approximately $35 per incident. Banks do not normally waive overdraft costs, though certain online checking accounts do not impose them in certain circumstances.
  • ATM fee: If you withdraw money from a cash machine that your bank does not own, you will be charged an ATM fee. Although a normal fee of $2 or $3 per transaction is charged, these might be significantly higher in specific areas, particularly internationally. The ATM operator may also impose fees on their customers.
  • Remember that not all checking accounts (particularly online) carry all these fees, which is important to understand.

Several of our best high-interest checking account options, for example, do not impose monthly maintenance fees or overdraft fees, and some even go so far as to refund users for ATM costs charged by other financial institutions, among other benefits.

Do checking accounts earn interest?

You forfeit earning potential in exchange for the increased freedom provided by a checking account. Compared to other banking products such as money market accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs), checking accounts typically do not yield interest or earn interest at extremely low rates unless they are redeemed for cash.

This is especially true for banks with physical locations to conduct business. In addition to being costly and resource-intensive, maintaining branch locations is difficult, and the widespread use of checking accounts makes them a great candidate for cost-cutting measures.

There are, however, several exceptions to the general rule of no interest. Interest-bearing checking accounts are available, but the minimum opening and ongoing balance requirements are frequently prohibitively large.

The effort to attain those standards and the monies they tie down is not worthwhile for many clients.

Online-only banks have greater flexibility to pay interest since they don’t suffer those brick-and-mortar expenditures. It is not uncommon to come across online checking accounts that pay interest.

Even in that case, we’re still operating in a low-interest-rate environment. Although these rates are higher than zero percent, they are still significantly lower than the rates offered by online savings accounts.

Is it safe to use an online checking account?

The answer is yes; checking accounts are secure, especially if you have less than $250,000 in your account. As previously stated, all checking accounts are protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to a maximum of $250,000 per depositor and per institution.

If you have more than $250,000 in your account, divide the sum over numerous checking accounts at different financial institutions to ensure that all of your money is secured.

In addition, most financial institutions provide fraud protection for consumers who have checking accounts.

This helps safeguard you against fraudulent withdrawals or the use of your debit card. Many of our top-rated checking accounts come with built-in fraud protection.

What is the optimal number of checking accounts I should have?

Most people only have one or two checking accounts, although this might vary depending on your unique financial situation, as it can in many other areas of personal finance.

Apart from the usual individual checking account, many couples have joint checking accounts, and many business owners have business checking accounts in addition to their checking accounts.

What is the difference between a high-interest checking account and a savings account?

The following are some of the most significant distinctions between checking accounts and savings accounts:

When it comes to making daily payments, checking accounts are best suited for doing so, while savings accounts are better suited for putting money down for longer-term purposes.

Savings accounts often offer greater annual percentage yields, making them a better option for storing an emergency fund or other funds you don’t expect to need anytime soon yet don’t want to risk investing.

On the other hand, savings accounts have limitations on the number of withdrawals you may make per month, as well as the simplicity with which you can access your money.

Checking accounts are intended for everyday expenditures and are designated as spending accounts. Their monthly payment and withdrawal limits are less restrictive than other financial institutions. However, even if they pay a high-interest rate, they do not often offer a high annual percentage yield (APY) like savings accounts.

The most important checking account terminology to understand.

Listed below is some critical checking account jargon that you should be aware with:

  • When a debit card is used, the account associated with the card is linked to the account. It’s frequently (but not always) branded with the Visa or Mastercard logo. In contrast to a credit card, which allows you to borrow money and pay it back later, debit card transactions are accepted based on the current balance of your account, and the money is taken from your account instantly after approval.
  • In short, a PIN is a four- to the six-digit number that is used to identify you when you use your debit card for ATM withdrawals or in-store transactions. PINs are normally four to six digits long.
  • Insufficient funds: If you write a check or attempt to spend more money than you have available in your checking account, the transaction may be refused due to a lack of funds in your account.
  • Unauthorized withdrawal: An unauthorized withdrawal occurs when a transaction leads your account to have a negative balance. There is a significant distinction between an overdraft and a bad money situation. An overdraft is approved; however, an insufficient funds situation results in a rejected transaction. Overdrafts are frequently subject to costs.
  • Mobile or remote deposit: Most checking accounts allow clients to deposit checks from their smartphones or other mobile devices by uploading a photo of the check, saving them the time and effort of going to the bank.
  • To endorse a check is to sign the back of a check in the designated area, indicating that the person paid has agreed to receive the amount of money being paid to them.
  • Route number: The routing number is the first of three important numbers on every check, and it is the most important. This nine-digit code refers to the bank that has the checking account information. In some cases, prominent financial institutions have numerous separate routing numbers, each specific to the geographic location where the account was opened.
  • Account number: The account number identifies the individual deposit account inside the bank indicated by the routing number, also known as the account number. You’ll need both the routing number and the account number to send money to a checking account. In a nutshell, the routing number instructs the outgoing institution to which the bank sends the money, and the account number instructs the receiving institution where to deposit the money.
  • Even though it is not particularly significant for most transactions, every check has a unique identification number (usually three or four digits). Check numbers are important for various reasons, including helping the account holder keep track of payments made by check and, in some situations, assisting in the detection of fraud.
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