Mothers of Young Children May Be in Line for a $1,000 Stimulus Per Month

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KEY POINTS

  • New York City is introducing a program to provide targeted aid to new mothers.
  • The Bridge Project is providing funds to moms in low-income neighborhoods.
  • It's coming at a time when widespread stimulus aid seems to be off the table.


Talk about positive news.

It's often bemoaned that paid parental leave in the U.S. is shameful -- namely, because for many families, it doesn't exist. While there are protections in place that can force companies to hold jobs for new parents on leave, there's no law saying that those parents must get paid while away from work. That often puts new parents in a difficult financial spot.

In fact, many families end up having to dip into their savings during the early stages of their children's lives, whether to cover the cost of medical care, daycare, or supplies. Throw in what could be multiple weeks of unpaid leave, and it can truly set the stage for financial ruin.

What's more, a lack of paid parental leave often results in parents having to return to work early in their children's lives, forcing them to place very young, vulnerable infants in daycare settings that could compromise their health. It's for this reason that a new program is being introduced in New York City. The hope is that it might spare new mothers the anguish of having to make the choice between making ends meet and making healthier choices for their babies.

Targeted aid is the on the way

New York City is introducing the Bridge Project -- an initiative that will provide mothers of infants and expectant mothers with $500 or $1,000 per month for three years. In fact, the program has already enlisted 100 moms who began receiving payments in July. The project is now about to start recruiting for a second group of first-time mothers -- this time, 500 of them -- in low-income neighborhoods.

The goal of the project is to help parents maintain financial stability when their children are born while allowing them the flexibility to potentially take a little extra time off if that's needed for health-related or other reasons. It may also give new mothers the opportunity to seek out better job opportunities -- for example, jobs that are more flexible with regard to scheduling and remote work.

The timing of the Bridge Project couldn't be better. Last year, many families saw their financial picture improve thanks to the boosted Child Tax Credit, which not only saw its value rise in 2021, but also paid recipients in monthly installment from July through December. That steady stream of money made it possible for many households to keep up with their expenses, especially at a time when inflation made living costs higher.

Unfortunately, lawmakers have yet to approve the spending bill President Biden introduced that calls for a one-year expansion of the boosted Child Tax Credit. And so a $500 to $1,000 monthly payment from the Bridge Project could very much help compensate.

Limited aid, but a good start

The Bridge Project targets a specific demographic in a limited geographic region, so it won't have the same impact as widespread stimulus aid or the enhanced Child Tax Credit. But the program is a good start -- and one that could pave the way for similar initiatives that help new parents avoid financial distress at a time when they should be focusing on the health of their children.

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