March 24, 2022

Watch a recording of  FRAC’s Fighting Hunger with the Child Tax Credit: Actions and Updates for Advocates webinar from April 4.

Anti-hunger stakeholders can take action now to ensure eligible households claim their expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) benefits by filing a 2021 federal tax return by April 18, 2022. Outreach is particularly needed to households with the lowest income, who may not have been eligible for the CTC in the past. Many families, including more than 2.3 million children, are at risk of not receiving the expanded CTC benefit. This blog highlights key background on the expanded CTC–including its impact on poverty and hunger–and how to leverage this powerful benefit.

The CTC expansion included in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) has played a critical role in reducing hunger and poverty among families with children who received the monthly advance payments from July-December 2021. The CTC advance monthly payments were associated with a 26% reduction in food insufficiency in households with children.

These monthly payments–which lapsed at the end of 2021 due to the expiration of the ARP provisions–were the first half of the expanded CTC benefit. Households who received these monthly benefits will receive the second half of the CTC when they file their 2021 taxes. Households with children who did not receive the monthly advance payments–and are more likely to be households with the lowest income–can still receive the full CTC when they file 2021 taxes.

The CTC benefit is not considered income  and will not change the amount a household receives for other federal benefits, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), SSI, and Medicaid.  Receiving the CTC will not be considered a factor in a public charge determination.  (Learn more about the CTC and mixed-immigration-status families here.)

Who’s Eligible?

Under the ARP’s expanded CTC, individuals who make up to $75,000 per year ($112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for those married filing jointly) are eligible to receive the full tax credit of $3,600 per child for children ages 0-5 and $3,000 per child for children ages 6-17. Families with higher incomes may receive a smaller credit or not qualify for a credit. ARP also made the CTC fully refundable, so the lowest income families receive the full benefit.

How Can Anti-Hunger Advocates Help? 

The expanded Child Tax Credit can help families put food on the table this tax season and action is needed to ensure all eligible families claim the full benefits. As trusted partners, anti-hunger advocates can play an important role in raising public awareness of the expanded CTC and encouraging all eligible households to file their 2021 tax return to claim their full CTC benefits.

Learn more about the expanded CTC and its impact in this recent FRAC Chat and A Primer: The Expanded Child Tax Credit’s Role in Addressing Hunger Among Households With Children

Resources for Tax Season:

CTC Outreach Toolkits: