Starting this week, 94% of Louisiana’s children – a little more than 1 million – will start receiving the first monthly payment from the newly enhanced federal Child Tax Credit. The payments are part of the historic $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law that will help reduce child poverty in the United States by more than 40%. 

The American Rescue Plan Act boosted the Child Tax Credit from $2,000 to $3,000 per child ($3,600 per child under 6), and made the credit fully refundable. This means families will receive the full value of the tax credit even if it exceeds what they owe in taxes. The expanded credit will be paid in monthly installments, helping to supplement family income for the remainder of 2021. 

The enhanced credit will have the greatest impact on states with high poverty rates, like Louisiana. According to the United Way’s ALICE report, 51% of state households did not make enough to cover basic necessities even before the pandemic. 

“Lifting a child out of poverty is the best investment that the government can make,” LBP executive director Jan Moller said. “Research shows that child poverty – especially in early childhood – has damaging long-term effects. Tax credits like the federal Child Tax Credit have a proven track record of lifting people out of poverty and putting children on the path to a brighter future.”  

While the enhanced credit is a great start, the expansion is only temporary, and is due to expire in January unless Congress agrees to make it permanent. 

Information on how to claim the credit – which is available to families with children below certain income levels, even if they did not file income tax returns – is available here

Rep. Troy Carter is hosting town hall meetings this week, where experts will be available to provide information about the credit: 

July 13 (Tuesday): New Orleans. McDonough #35 High School, 4000 Cadillac Street, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

July 14 (Wednesday): Baton Rouge. Louisiana Leadership Institute, 5763 Hooper Road, 5:30-6:30 p.m. 

July 15 (Thursday): River Parishes. River Parishes Community College, 125 Regala Park Road, 5:30-6:30 p.m.