With all but the most affluent families eligible to receive up to $300 a month per child, the United States will join many other rich countries that provide a guaranteed income for children, a goal that has long animated progressives. Experts estimate the payments will cut child poverty by nearly half, an achievement with no precedent.
But the program, created as part of the stimulus bill that Democrats passed over unified Republican opposition in March, expires in a year, and the rollout could help or hinder President Biden’s pledge to extend it.
Immediate challenges loom. The government is uncertain how to get the payments to millions of hard-to-reach families, a problem that could undermine its poverty-fighting goals. Opponents of the effort will be watching for delivery glitches, examples of waste or signs that the money erodes the desire of some parents to work.
While the government has increased many aid programs during the coronavirus pandemic, supporters say the payments from an expanded Child Tax Credit, at a one-year cost of about $105 billion, are unique in their potential to stabilize both poor and middle-class families.
Photographed for The New York Times with words by Jason DeParle.
Monthly Payments to Families With Children to Begin
The Biden administration will send up to $300 per child a month to most American families thanks to a temporary increase in the child tax credit that advocates hope to extend.