Newest Survey on Expanded Child Tax Credit Reveals Financial Insecurity and Child Hunger as One Full Year without Monthly CTC Payments Approaches

As Some Democrats Push to Restart the Program, ParentsTogether Action Finds That 82% of Parents Support This Policy

61% Say Since Checks Stopped, It Has Been More Difficult to Meet Their Family’s Basic Needs; 22% Say They Are No Longer Able to Meet Their Family’s Basic Needs

November 29, 2022 — According to a new survey from ParentsTogether Action, a family advocacy nonprofit with more than 3 million members nationwide, parents and caregivers have been struggling to cover their basic needs since the expanded Child Tax Credit ended last December.  

The survey of more than 500 parents and guardians laid bare the devastating consequences that ending the payments have had, especially on mid to lower income American families. The results come as some Democrats in Congress race to reinstate the expansion as part of an end-of-the-year tax package. According to families surveyed, a resumption of monthly payments could not come soon enough with 82% of respondents in support of restarting the expanded CTC. 

When respondents were asked about their family’s finances in the year since the payments stopped: 

  • 61% of respondents said it has been more difficult to meet their family’s basic needs. This is up from 57% in February 2022, just two months after  the expanded CTC expired. 
  • 22% said they have been unable to meet their family’s basic needs.

When broken down further, the numbers show it’s gotten worse since earlier in the year:

  • Almost half of respondents said they had to/will need to spend their savings or other money saved for emergencies in order to afford necessities.
  • 45% said they can no longer afford extracurriculars or enrichment programs for their kids, including sports, music, and other activities.
  • 43% said they can no longer save for their children’s future.
  • 30% of respondents said they can no longer afford enough food for their kids. 

The survey made clear just how vital the monthly payments were for families: a large majority (77%) said the payments made a “huge difference” for their family, while less than 5% of respondents said the payments “didn’t make much of a difference.” 84% of respondents said when the monthly CTC payments were happening, they were less anxious about their finances, and 91% of respondents said it was “somewhat” or “extremely” important for the payments to start up again.

ParentsTogether members represent a wide range of incomes. In the most recent survey, 84% of survey respondents had household incomes of less than $100,000 and 77% of respondents had incomes of less than $75,000. 

“The expanded Child Tax Credit is the single best tool we have to reduce child poverty; it’s a solution that we know works. But one year ago, Republicans and Senator Joe Manchin effectively abandoned millions of American families relying on monthly Child Checks as the pandemic continued and the costs of housing, food, and childcare all continued to rise,” said Ailen Arreaza, co-Director of ParentsTogether Action. “Now, after a year of missed CTC payments, we’re seeing American families in financial crisis. It doesn’t have to be this way, yet Congress appears ready to pass more corporate tax breaks during the lame duck session instead of supporting families. Make no mistake: parents are watching and it would be unconscionable for our leaders to usher through tax cuts to corporations without helping families. Congress must act immediately to reinstate the expanded CTC before more kids suffer.”

ParentsTogether Action’s survey was conducted from November 14-18, 2022. The last monthly Child Tax Credit (CTC) payment was on December 15, 2021, after the Senate failed to pass the Build Back Better Act passed by the House in November. Some Democrats are looking to restart the program as part of a tax package this December.

In their own words, parents expressed the importance of the monthly payments:

“I have a special needs daughter with diet restrictions that make buying food more expensive. She also needs around the clock care meaning I have to pay a babysitter, so having the extra money meant breathing room in a very expensive economy.” – Michelle, South Carolina 

“Honestly [Child Checks] helped us get clothes for the winter when I was worried how I could do that. A new jacket for my son ranged from $50-$100. It also helped with obtaining school supplies, and healthier food choices. My family can eat up to $1,000+ in groceries a month, and that does not include any time eating out.” – Alexandrea, Texas 

“We have depleted our savings, we frequently run out of food and I have had to not fill prescriptions for both me and my children.” – Laura, Virginia 

“We live paycheck to paycheck. We rely on food banks for our food, I can’t afford to get clothes for my growing kid, and we had to stop doing enrichment outings because of no money.” – Jenny, Arizona

“We are a middle class family, where we “make too much” for any government assistance for preschool, childcare or anything else. We are paying $1200+ for this. The child credit checks helped us not have to chose between their childcare, food or mortgage or our jobs to keep up with this insanely high cost to our family.” – Molly, Ohio