Households will get up to $3,600 per child

Little boy sitting on father's lap, smiling and putting money into a piggy. bank.
Rido / Shutterstock

The cash represents the first part of a one-year, beefed-up version of the child tax credit that was included in the March stimulus bill.

The Biden administration has said roughly 39 million families will receive payouts for each of their children on or around the 15th of every month, from July through December.

Households will get up to $250 a month for chidren between ages 6 and 17, and $300 a month for kids under 6.

That's as much as $1,800 per child. The payments represent half the credit; the other half can be taken as refunds when parents file their 2021 taxes next spring.

In total, families will receive up to $3,600 per child for the year. Normally, the credit is worth a maximum of $2,000 for any kid under the age of 17.

What to do if your cash doesn’t show up

Portrait of young business mom holding her newborn cute babe while looking at cellphone screen.
fizkes / Shutterstock

Most people won’t have to do anything to receive their payments. If the IRS has your information, the money will simply appear in your account or arrive in the mail around the middle of each month through the end of this year.

But if nothing shows up, there are a few things parents can do to investigate a missing payment.

  • Make sure you qualify. The IRS is basing eligibility on the most recent tax return it has on file, and some households may have earned too much to get the payments. If you’re a single parent, you’ll receive the full per-child amount if your adjusted gross income (total income minus a few deductions) is under $75,000. For married couples who file joint returns, the income cutoff for maximum benefits is $150,000.

  • See if you need to submit a tax return. Those who typically don't file their taxes or are running late this year will want to file returns quickly to ensure the IRS is up to date and can get them their money.

  • Check the portal. The IRS has launched an online portal designed to make it easier and more efficient for parents to update their address, bank account and other information needed to receive their payments. Users also can check the portal to investigate the status of their payments and potentially get to the bottom of any holdups.

  • Make sure you haven’t been scammed. The IRS is warning Americans to be on the lookout for scams related to the child tax credit payments. The agency emphasizes that the only way to receive this benefit is to file a tax return or register online through its nonfiler sign-up tool. It also reminds taxpayers that the IRS never sends unsolicited emails or texts instructing anyone to open attachments or visit nongovernment websites.

Other ways to claw back cash every month

Unhappy Family Sitting On Sofa Looking At Bills
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

If your budget is still banged up from the pandemic and needs an extra boost right now, you have a few options if your monthly payment is delayed or doesn't meet all your needs.

  • Deal with your debt. If you’ve been relying on your credit cards to get you through the pandemic, the expensive interest is probably piled high by now. Tackle your debts by rolling them into a single debt consolidation loan. You’ll have only one payment to deal with, and the lower interest rate will slash the cost of your debt and help you pay it off faster.

  • Chop down your insurance payments. If you haven’t shopped around for a better rate on your homeowners insurance lately, you could be paying hundreds of dollars too much. A little comparison shopping could save you money when the time comes to buy or renew your coverage. The same trick works well for finding a lower rate on auto insurance.

  • Turn your pennies into a portfolio. You don't have to have thousands of dollars or be fluent in Wall Street jargon to benefit from the red-hot stock market. A wildly popular app can help you get your share of the action by investing just your "spare change" from everyday purchases, to grow your pennies into a diversified portfolio.

About the Author

Sigrid Forberg

Sigrid Forberg

Staff Writer

Sigrid is a staff writer with MoneyWise. A graduate of Carleton University's journalism program, she spent the better part of the last six years writing about business and retail. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking and riding her bicycle.

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