RICHMOND, Va. -- Tens of thousands of children could be missing out on benefits they're eligible for under the expanded Child Tax Credit as the deadline to enroll approaches.
"We really are focused on making sure as many families as possible can access that money now," said Sarah Steely, Director of No Kid Hungry Virginia.
Eligible families could receive a total of $1,800 per child if they are enrolled by Monday, November 15, at GetCTC.org.
"We have never really seen a tool like this. It has the power to cut child poverty in half," said Steely.
In July, funds became accessible to families needing it most through the expanded Child Tax Credit as part of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
"These are families that previously did not qualify for the child tax credit because their income was too low to file taxes," Steely said.
That means a single parent who didn't file taxes making less than $12,400 or married families making less than $24,800 were eligible to enroll to receive payments of $300 dollars per child per month for a period of six months beginning in July and lasting through December. Those that enrolled now could receive the months they missed as one lump sum.
Parents looking to enroll needed a valid email or phone number and their child's social security number.
According to the Tax Policy Center, more than 53,000 kids in Virginia could be missing out on the benefit.
"We know that the kids who need the Child Tax Credit the most are often the hardest to reach," said Steely.
She called on community leaders in schools, nonprofits, and churches to help spread the word.
"There's a study that demonstrated that in Virginia, about 51% of child tax credit funds are going towards the purchase of food. So, it really is essential to help families put food on the table, food in the fridge, especially during this time of year," Steely said.
Congress was also negotiating an extension of the expanded CTC that, if approved, would continue it in the new year.