‘I feel like God answered my prayers’: Memphis families react as child tax credit payments roll out

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The first expanded payments of the Advanced Child Tax Credit are set to roll out Thursday.

It’s part of the American Rescue Plan. Households with children ages 6 and under will receive $300 per month per child, and families with children from 6 to 17 years old will receive $250 per child. Half the money will be paid out to families over six months, and parents will have to claim the rest on their tax returns.

Some families could get up to $3,600 in the year the payments will take place.

According to census data, there are more than 162,000 children in Memphis. If parents were eligible and chose to receive payments for each child, that’s more than $40 million coming to Memphis families in the month of July alone.

That extra money will be welcome to parents who lost income due to the pandemic or other factors like illness.

“Everything has increased, so being able to put a dent in those bills, will be great,” said one mother, Evelyn Mitchell Irby.

Tauheedah Frison is a single mom to three boys, ages 8, 10 and 12 years old. Frison is part of the Salvation Army’s residential treatment program.

“With the pandemic and everything it’s really been hard for me,” Frison said.

She lost her job, making it tough to keep up with daily expenses. She’s in the process of getting back on her feet after being part of the Salvation Army’s program for the last month.

“I’m at a good place right now,” Frison said. “I’m looking forward and moving forward to starting my kids up in a better environment and a better life.”

She says the Advance Child Tax Credit helps her on that journey.

“I feel like God answered my prayers,” Frison said. “I’m really going to get help for me and my boys.”

Frison already has plans for the extra dollars.

“Their needs basically, like as far as school clothes, and you know helping you get caught up with some of your bills, you know it’s a big help,” Frison said. “I think they deserve to be in a better place and a better environment. It’s going to help me do a lot.”

Some lawmakers like Florida Republican senator Marco Rubio have spoken against the increased credit, saying the plans will turn the benefits into an “anti-work welfare check” because so many families can qualify.

The payments are set to end after a year.

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