19% of Families Can No Longer Afford Housing With Monthly Child Tax Credit Payments Gone
- The enhanced Child Tax Credit has not extended into 2022 so far.
- Without those monthly payments, many families are having difficulties paying essential bills.
Many families are struggling financially in the absence of those monthly payments.
The boosted Child Tax Credit worked wonders for many families' finances in 2021. Not only did the credit's value increase last year, but a chunk of it was paid in monthly installments that hit recipients' bank accounts between July and December.
Lawmakers were initially hoping to keep the enhanced Child Tax Credit in place for 2022. Doing so would give recipients access to a higher payday with the monthly payments they came to rely on.
But as of now, the boosted Child Tax Credit is a no-go for 2022. That's because it was included in President Biden's Build Back Better bill, which is currently stalled in the Senate and unlikely to move forward.
If pulling those monthly Child Tax Credit payments at a time when inflation is soaring sounds like a recipe for disaster, well, it is. A recent survey by ParentsTogether Action highlights just how badly some families are suffering in the absence of getting that money every month.
Many families can't make ends meet
Losing their monthly Child Tax Credit payments has meant falling behind on bills for many families. A good 57% of those surveyed say that without those payments, it's been more difficult to meet their basic needs. And 19% say they can no longer afford their rent or mortgage payments without that extra money.
That's extremely problematic, because while there were protections in place earlier on in the pandemic to help those struggling with housing costs, those have largely expired. For renters, the federal ban on evictions ran out in mid-2021. Some states expanded their own eviction bans, but at this point, much of that protection has expired, too.
Meanwhile, early on in the pandemic, homeowners who couldn't keep up with their mortgage payments were allowed to pause their payments via forbearance for up to 18 months. But for those who signed up at the start of the pandemic, that protection is long gone.
There are still rental assistance funds available in some parts of the country for those who can't pay their landlords. But to qualify, applicants generally need to prove they suffered a loss of income or specific hardship related to the pandemic. Not getting a monthly windfall at a time when living costs are up may not qualify as a valid reason for requesting aid. Plus, a lot of cities and states are pausing the distribution of rent relief money due to having limited funds and a barrage of applications to sort through.
What to do if you can't keep up with your housing costs
If you're having a hard time paying your housing costs, and moving is not an option (or an affordable one, anyway), then you may still have a few strategies to explore. If you're a renter, talk to your landlord and ask to have your rent temporarily reduced until your financial situation improves. If you're able to pay some of your rent, your landlord may agree to an arrangement as long as they're getting some amount of money.
Meanwhile, if you're a homeowner, you can ask to modify your mortgage to make it more affordable. Refinancing your mortgage could also result in lower monthly payments, though with mortgage rates on the rise, loan modification may be your better bet -- especially if you don't have the best credit score.
Unfortunately, the loss of monthly Child Tax Credit payments has dealt a blow to many families. Until living costs start to come down, a lot of people might continue to struggle unless lawmakers manage to put their heads together and come up with a viable solution.
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