NEW ORLEANS — For Pennina White caring for her two-year-old son this past year hasn’t always been easy.
“We’re not having enough money to do what we need to do for our bills and everything,” said White. “My baby is still in diapers.”
Like so many parents, this single mom in New Orleans is navigating a pandemic while being unemployed.
“If I didn’t have my mom I don’t know where I would be,” said White.
Thanks to the American Rescue Plan recently passed by Congress, stimulus money was a big help but a new temporary increase to child tax credits for 2021 will help even more. Under the plan, parents with children ages 6 to 17 are eligible for a credit up to $3,000 per child. For children under the age of six, it’s up to $3,600.
That’s a big jump from the previous $1,000 per child at 16 years old and younger.
“Anyone who has a social security number and their children are their dependents are eligible,” said Jabarie Walker, Director of Federal Programs for the City of New Orleans.
Walker said another change is, there is no minimum income requirement for those credits. With New Orleans being an industry of hospitality, hit hard by the pandemic, Walker said the one-time opportunity is a key to unlocking help.
“A lot of our folks had to go and file for unemployment which decreased their amount of earned income from last year and this change allows them to still be able to tap into some funds and quite frankly just give assistance to their day-to-day needs,” said Walker.
Another change is that half of the total credit will be paid through advanced monthly installments beginning this Summer. The rest will be paid once taxes are filed in 2022.
“This is an opportunity for the families of the city of New Orleans to improve themselves by simply filing their taxes,” said Walker.
White has already filed hers and says these payments will be a big deal.
“It’s going to be great. It’s going to help me take care of my kid and get what he needs and provide for him,” said White.
Providing not just the material things, but also a little bit of relief during a time of so much uncertainty.