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Monthly Federal Cash Payments Coming to Memphis Families with Children

Children at tax credit announcement
Katie Riordan/WKNO-FM
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Students from the Higher Learning Enrichment Academy in Memphis at a press conference to promote the child tax credit.

Memphis lawmakers say an expanded federal tax credit program that will send direct cash payments to parents through the end of the year could help lift thousands of children in Shelby County out of poverty.

The new monthly installments of up to $300 for children under age six went into effect Thursday. The IRS will automatically distribute the money to parents who filed taxes in the last two years, or received pandemic-related stimulus checks. Others who still qualify will need to sign up. Parents of those 17 and younger are eligible for a monthly $250.

U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen says the program covers more than 90 percent of the children in the district he represents, which includes much of Shelby County.

“When this money comes into our district, it’s an economic stimulus,” he said at an event Thursday to promote the broadened tax credit. “It helps kids for sure. It helps families for sure, but it puts money into the community.”

To receive the full credit amount, a single taxpayer cannot make over $112,000 a year. Those filing jointly must make less than $150,000.

Cohen, a Democrat, dubbed the new higher payments social security for children and would like to see Congress extend them beyond this year. He acknowledges, however, that reaching a bipartisan agreement with GOP lawmakers will likely be a challenge.

He says the checks will help lift more than 18,000 children out of poverty in Shelby County.

Read more about the tax credit and eligibility here.