Washington, United States: Child tax credit payments pushed by President Joe Biden to alleviate hardship amid the pandemic had an immediate impact in reducing the number of children facing hunger, according to government data.
The Treasury Department announced Friday that the second round of payments of more than $15 billion was paid to families with about 61 million eligible children, 1.6 million more than last month.
According to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey released this week, parents reported having less trouble covering the costs of food and other household expenses after receiving their first payment in mid-July.
The share of families reporting that they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in the past week dropped to the lowest since the pandemic began, falling three percentage points to just 8.4 percent, according to the report.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced businesses to shut down and caused a wave of job losses, and while many have been recovered millions of people remain unemployed or underemployed.
The payments formed part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package approved in late March that expanded the child tax credit and shifted to distributing half the funds monthly through December rather than a single, one-time payment.
Eligible families received up to $300 a month for each child under age six and up to $250 a month for each child age six to 17.
The payments are “helping families put food on the table and meet the needs of the next generation,” Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a statement.
Treasury is ramping up its outreach with multilingual and mobile tools to ensure more families have access to the safety net.
The Census report noted about 35 million families received the first payments. But even with the help, the data show inequities remain, and Black families with children report a far higher rate of food insecurity than white families.