Stimulus Update: Some Families Are Getting $1,800 Checks Next Month. Are You One of Them?

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An extra $1,800 in Child Tax Credit money is headed to thousands of families next month. Here's who is slated to receive it -- and why.

Key points

  • December is the last month for monthly Child Tax Credit payments unless the boost gets extended for another year as part of President Biden's Build Back Better plan.
  • Some families may receive as much as $1,800 per child in payments next month.
  • This windfall will arrive as back payments for eligible families that were late to enroll to receive their Child Tax Credit payments in the previous months of July through November.

The IRS has been sending out monthly advance Child Tax Credit payments to millions of low- to moderate-income families since July, but there is just one monthly Child Tax Credit payment left to be disbursed for 2021. These payments, worth a maximum of $250 to $300 per child, have had a huge impact on households in need -- and have even helped to pull millions of children out of poverty. As such, the end of these monthly payments could mean money issues for some low- to moderate-income households, many of whom have come to rely on the checks hitting their mailboxes or bank accounts each month.

Luckily, there is a chance that the tax credits will be extended into 2022 -- which would give these households more time to recover from the financial strain caused by the pandemic. House lawmakers recently passed President Joe Biden's $1.7 trillion Build Back Better plan, and it includes a one-year extension of the enhanced Child Tax Credit. Whether the extension survives the legislative hurdles it will face in the Senate, though, remains to be seen.

But while the future of the enhanced Child Tax Credit is up in the air, what is certain is that more tax credit money will be handed out next year. Millions of households are eligible to claim the second half of the Child Tax Credit as part of their tax returns next April. There will be more tax credit money headed to thousands of families next month, too -- and some households could even receive checks worth $1,800 or more. But who's going to be on the receiving end of this extra cash boost -- and why? Here's what you should know.

Extra checks are coming next month -- here's who will get them

While most households were automatically enrolled in the Child Tax Credit payments by the IRS, there were some households that were not automatically enrolled in the payments. Thousands of these households received letters from the IRS earlier this month urging them to sign up for Child Tax Credit payments before it was too late.

Those who opted to sign up before the Nov. 15 deadline are now in for a big cash windfall, as they will be on the receiving end of six months worth of back tax credit payments. The IRS is sending out all back payments as a lump sum to the families who qualify -- and this money is slated to be sent out in December, so they won't have to wait much longer to get it.

What that means is that tens of thousands of households will receive a December payment of up to $1,800 per child for dependents under the age of 6 or up to $1,500 per child for those ages 6 to 17. And, these households will also be eligible to claim the other half of the tax credit on next year's taxes -- as will the other qualifying households.

The IRS is scheduled to start sending out the last payments on Dec. 15, so if you recently signed up and opted to receive the money via direct deposit, keep an eye on your bank account in mid-December. If you opted to receive a paper check instead, it could take a few extra weeks to receive your lump-sum payment for the Child Tax Credit money you're owed.

Families that have been receiving the monthly payments since July will receive their last $250 to $300 maximum payment starting on Dec. 15. They will not receive any back payments next month. So if you've been receiving your Child Tax Credit payments each month, your last payment should be for the same amount you've received in months prior.

What happens to the money if you missed the November deadline?

Did you miss the Nov. 15 deadline to sign up for the tax credit payments? If so, you will have to wait until April of next year to claim the money on your tax return. There is no way to claim the monthly payments at this point, as the IRS's non-filer sign-up tool is no longer accessible.

That said, the entire amount of the tax credit can be claimed on next year's taxes -- as can any missing direct stimulus payments. So, you won't lose any of the tax credit benefits simply because you missed the deadline. You are still eligible to receive the full tax credit payment -- which is worth a maximum of $3,600 for children under the age of 6 and $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17. You'll just have to wait until April 2022 to claim it.

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