Family food insecurity grows as a result of a decrease in child tax credit payments, according to statistics!
According to new statistics from Children’s HealthWatch, a nonpartisan collection of health care professionals and academics, food insecurity among U.S. families with children surged by 12% in February when child tax credit payments under the government Covid-19 assistance scheme ended.
Last year, when more than 36 million people got the payments, food insecurity fell by 26%. However, the payments were discontinued in December when Congress blocked Build Back Better legislation, which would have made them permanent.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 had an enhanced child tax credit that offered qualified households $250 to $300 per kid each month.
“The fact that we observed a big drop in food insecurity really speaks to the fact that individuals were using it to purchase basic requirements,” Allison Bovell-Ammon, Children’s HealthWatch’s head of policy strategy, said.
The group also discovered significant differences in who got compensation. Families with no active bank accounts were less likely to get payments than those with active accounts, and families with immigrant mothers were less likely to obtain credit than those with U.S.-born mothers.
“There’s a lot of concern about obtaining government assistance across the board within the immigrant population,” Bovell-Ammon stated recently. “There’s also a large information gap, with information that may not be provided in many languages or by trustworthy community members where individuals reside.”
Kristen Olsen, who is parenting the youngest of her three kids, George, as a single mother in West Virginia, is one of those affected by the shutdown. She only buys fruits and veggies when they are on sale at the grocery store.
Instead, she buys rice, beans, potatoes, and sardines, which she brings to work every day for lunch. She went to a food pantry for the first time last winter, and she is now taking advantage of local clothes handouts.
Olsen, who got $300 per month in child tax credit payments, stated, “I didn’t use to have to squeeze pennies like this.” “We’ve battled, but we’ve… always felt like someone is struggling more, that someone is in need more.” However, we eventually ran out of food.”
She was left seeking new methods to support her family after losing the extended child tax credit and having to pay more for rent, gas, and utilities due to inflation.
The child tax credit was available to 93 percent of youngsters in her native state of West Virginia.
Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia was the lone Democrat to vote against the Biden administration’s Build Back Better initiative, which would have made the extended child tax credit permanent, seeing it as a disincentive to work.
He was also concerned, privately, that the money might be used to purchase narcotics.
Olsen, who is in recovery and works numerous jobs, said hearing it from a lawmaker for whom she supported was upsetting.
“He’s basically suggesting you’re not worth investing in,” she explained. “It’s not worth it for your kids,” she says.
Children’s HealthWatch has expressed its desire for Congress and the Biden administration to fix the discrepancies it discovered and make the enlarged child tax credit permanent.
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Legislators are studying possibilities, but there is no consensus on how the program should operate. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and others have stated that they want the enhanced child tax credit to be renewed in 2021. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is pushing for a version with a job requirement.
Olsen claims she has contacted Manchin’s office to request that he support a monthly child tax credit. Although the extra cash did not alleviate all of her financial concerns, she said it helped her deal with the stress of receiving a bill and was unsure if she would be able to pay it.
“Getting that $300 in my account provided me breathing room to be a better parent, a better mother, and to enjoy my life a little bit,” she added.
She said she would re-enroll George in jiujitsu courses and purchase him new clothes, footwear, and books if the payments were returned. She claims that she and other West Virginia families are in desperate need of assistance.
“It’s not just about my financial account. “It’s also about being heard and feeling heard,” added Olsen. “It’d feel like I’d finally been heard, that we’d all been heard.”