Stimulus Update: Just 2 More Child Tax Payments Are Coming Unless Congress Acts

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Could you be in line for more payments or will the next two be your last?

Millions of Americans across the United States have become used to receiving extra monthly payments deposited into their bank accounts since July. But, there are just two more payments coming unless Congress takes action to offer more relief.

Here's what you need to know.

Monthly Child Tax Credit payments will soon come to an end without more legislation

When the American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law by President Joe Biden, the coronavirus relief legislation provided for some Americans to receive ongoing stimulus money. This would come from an expansion of the Child Tax Credit.

The Child Tax Credit has long been in existence, but the help it offered was limited. To obtain the credit before this year, parents had to file tax returns. The credit would either reduce their tax bill or come as part of their annual tax refund. The credit was worth $2,000 per child at most, but since only $1,400 of it was refundable, people who didn't have at least a $2,000 tax bill were limited in the amount of money they could get from it.

The American Rescue Plan Act raised the amount of the credit substantially to $3,000 for children ages six to 17 and $3,600 for children under age six. And, perhaps even more importantly for parents, it enabled them to get the money throughout the year instead of waiting until a tax return was filed.

The expanded Child Tax Credit was scheduled to be deposited into people's bank accounts beginning in July and those eligible for the entire credit would receive either $250 or $300 per child depending on the child's age. American families have now received these payments for four months -- and they are slated to get two more. These will come in November and December on the 15th of the month.

The monthly deposits will, in total, deliver half the credit this year, with the remaining half provided to parents after they file a tax return for 2021. But many hope that Congress will take action to make the expansion of the credit last beyond this year.

Unless lawmakers do take this action, the next two payments are the last that parents will get deposited into their accounts on a monthly basis.

Will Congress continue monthly Child Tax Credit payments?

The expanded Child Tax Credit is one of the centerpieces of President Biden's agenda and many Democrats have been hoping to pass legislation extending it despite unified Republican opposition.

Those on the left are attempting to craft a bill that can pass through a process called reconciliation, which is a filibuster-proof method of passing legislation. That's likely the only way an extension of the monthly Child Tax Credit payments will pass, as reconciliation bills aren't subject to a filibuster in the U.S. Senate that blocks legislation from advancing without 60 votes (Democrats have just 50 of 100 votes in this branch of Congress).

The reconciliation bill would theoretically continue the expanded Child Tax Credit for many more years beyond 2021, in addition to putting other programs in place. If it were to pass, the next two deposits scheduled for November and December would not be the last ones. Instead, parents would likely continue to receive monthly payments regularly over the next several years.

However, there are just 50 Senators who caucus with the Democrats and two -- Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema -- object to various provisions of the legislation. In particular Senator Manchin believes the Child Tax Credit should be subject to a lower income limit as well as work requirements. It's not yet clear if the Democrats will be able to compromise to pass their reconciliation bill. And, even if they do and the credit is extended, it's possible not everyone currently receiving the money will continue to do so if new limitations on eligibility are put in place.

Those hoping for ongoing stimulus checks should watch negotiations in D.C. carefully to find out if the next two payments will be their last.

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