It’s Jan. 15, do you know where your child tax credit payments are? I worry they are not coming to our bank accounts anytime soon. And that’s particularly unfortunate in West Virginia, putting thousands of kids at risk of slipping back into poverty, leaving families with the anxiety of struggling yet again.
For many West Virginia families, including mine, the expanded child tax credit gave us the ability to breathe when we were hit with the unexpected bill. Who else had to spend hundreds of dollars to fix their vehicles this year because of our crumbling roads in West Virginia? Shocks and struts are no match for potholes the size of Rhode Island.
How can we get to work if we can’t afford to fix our vehicle?
Not every family has a savings account, a credit card or even family members to rely on when big, unexpected bills hit. If only we could say to our huge medical bills, “thank you for my bill in January, I will pay you when I get my tax return in April.” Life doesn’t wait for your tax return to arrive. Nor do your bills halt when you have to take off work because of illness.
Many West Virginians like myself do not have the luxury of paid time off. If we don’t work, we don’t get paid. When I needed to stay home with my young kids last year because of COVID-19 protocols, I was not concerned about paying my bills. I knew the expanded child tax credit was around the corner that month and our needs would still be met. I know many families like mine experienced the same feeling when the expanded tax credit was in effect last year — it provided some breathing room that made things a bit easier.
But unless the Build Back Better Act is passed, they no longer will have the support that has helped so many meet our basic household needs and meet unexpected costs over the past six months.
West Virginians are resilient, strong and will do everything we can for our families. I just pray our Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., do the same for their constituents — kids and families — by supporting an extension of the expanded child tax credit.
So, as many families will spend the next few months picking up the pieces, I want to remind us all to be kind to our fellow West Virginians and help where you can.