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Harder to Pay the Bills Now That Child Tax Credit Payments Have Ended


More households with children had difficulty paying for usual household expenses after Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments ended in December, according to new Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey (HPS) results.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s HPS previously showed that reports of hardship among households with children decreased when CTC payments began in July 2021.

The Internal Revenue Service issued a monthly advance CTC payment to households with children from July to December 2021. More than 36 million families received the last monthly payment of up to $300 for each child ages 5 and under and up to $250 for each child ages 6 to 17.

The experimental HPS collected data during the second half of 2021 (August through December) while advance CTC payments were issued and in early 2022, after the payments stopped.

The HPS asked respondents how difficult it was to cover usual household expenses during the prior week. For this story, households with children are considered to have trouble making ends meet if they reported that it was “somewhat” or “very difficult” to cover expenses.

During the months CTC payments were distributed, about 30% of households with children reported difficulty meeting expenses.

In late January and early February 2022, after payments ended, 35% of adults living in households with children said they struggled to cover usual costs.

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