We are mothers, grandmothers and other unpaid family caregivers who have been pressing for reinstatement of the expanded child tax credit (CTC) and for our caregiving work to be valued and supported. We recognize and appreciate the effort that went into this bi-partisan proposal, but it must not exclude the most impoverished children. Representative DeLauro, who has championed an expanded CTC for several decades, says the proposed tax relief act would keep “millions of children in preventable poverty because of a policy choice.” We agree.
The Act Discriminates against unpaid family caregivers including moms and grandmas.
Lawmakers who claim that families and children are important, are nevertheless penalizing full-time moms and other unpaid family caregivers by denying them the CTC. Every mother or other primary family caregivers know that raising children is work; indeed, it likely is the hardest job there is. According to Oxfam, women in the US contribute $1.48 trillion in unpaid caregiving each year. See our fact sheet on the expanded CTC (bit.ly/CTCFactSheetJan2024) and some of our testimonies (bit.ly/CaregivingWorkStatements).
As it now stands the Act:
- Is not fully refundable, so it leaves out the poorest children: at least 2 million children and probably many millions more.
- Is not paid monthly. Monthly payments can help stop families from going into debt; by the time a yearly tax credit is paid, the debt has already accumulated.
- Fails to help grandmothers who step in to raise children. It dismisses and insults the work of unpaid family caregivers by only making the CTC available to them if they leave their children in the care of someone else to take any kind of job outside the home.
- Excludes the poorest people, those on public assistance, those receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Social Security Insurance (SSI), those disabled, those caring for disabled people. Children with disabilities including those with special needs number 14.1 million and make up nearly 20% of the children in the US. Are the primary unpaid family caregivers of such children to be denied the CTC?
- Rather than making the payments monthly and automatic, it makes it complicated for parents to receive the tax credit.
- While the look-back proposal is a useful one, people would have to be broadly informed about how to claim it as how to claim it could be confusing. Additionally, it doesn’t apply to 2023.
- It only indexes benefit levels for inflation; a more significant raise in benefit levels would be important to families.
- Does not do enough to help the 1 in 4 mothers who is a victim of domestic violence who might have to go through the abusive husband to try to get the credit.
- Gives the credit to foster parents rather than to the mother or other primary caregiver. 85% of child removals are due to poverty that is classified as neglect. Receiving the CTC directly could help mothers not lose their children in the first place and/or enable the family to be reunited.
- 17 million will not receive the full credit.
- While we know there is concern to get something done on CTC now, this Act locks in a limited Child Tax Credit for three years and risks making this flawed bill permanent.
- Does not include immigrant families with ITIN numbers.
- While failing to help the most impoverished families, it locks in over $600 billion in permanent tax cuts for corporations, 55% of which do not pay any taxes at all.
As unpaid family caregivers we appeal to both Democrat and Republican lawmakers: do not throw us and our children under the bus! Count and value our work! Value and support the health and well-being of all children!
Issued by: Care Income Now!; Global Women’s Strike; Women of Color/GWS; Every Mother is a Working Mother; Payday Men’s Network.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 215-848-1120. 323-6461269