Social Agenda and our allies won refundability of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in the spring of 2001. The White House estimates that over nine billion additional federal dollars are now available to low-income families.
In 1997 when S/A first publicly laid out the CTC Campaign, it was largely ignored. With no other organization to take it on, Social Agenda redesigned the campaign, raised limited funds, spearheaded, and organized it throughout the auspicious year 2000 and beyond. CTC refundability was phase 1 of the larger Caregiver Credit Campaign.
The results of this effort are:
Refundability: If you don't owe tax you get it as a refund.
An increase from $500 to $600 per child for tax year 2001 rising to $1,000 in the coming years.
An End to the "Third Child Rule": Low-income families with only one or two children were previously ineligible.
The Child Tax Credit boosts the value of the Earned Income Credit.
"Mommy Neutrality": Those who give direct care in, and those who work in paying jobs outside, the home both get the credit.
As a result of participation by people like you all over the country, millions of previously ineligible families now receive the credit. Hundreds of thousands of others with children hovering below the poverty line will rise above it. However, most people still do not know about it and the new forms are complicated without computers and easy tax software, so many families remain shut out. More outreach is imperative.
There are still limitations. The previous CTC did not cover most families with incomes below 32,000 per annum. The new credit sets an absolute floor at $10,000. In other words, now a family must have over ten thousand dollars in income to collect. Families with less than $10,000 are still left out. Driving the floor down to ensure that no child is left behind also must be pursued further.
Phase two of the Caregiver Credit Campaign, converting the Child Tax Credit to a Caregiver Credit to cover the care of adults, also is now under way.