Last week, eligible parents started receiving the first of what will be monthly child tax credit payments — the latest government rollout meant to boost the economy and better support families facing financial strain due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For the rest of the year, parents making less than $150,000 will receive monthly payments of $300 for children 5 and under, and $250 for children 6 and older. And you can bet your COVID-relief checks they're taking to TikTok to shamelessly celebrate.
Just type in #childtaxcredit2021, "child tax credit," or "ctc," and instantly, you'll be bombarded by videos of parents joyfully commemorating that first government-issued check. "When you child tax credit hits and your balance goes from $-0.34 to $249.66," one parent posted, showing her singing gospel-like music with her hands in the air. "Current mood after the child tax credit hits the account," another shared, with a video of an elderly man breaking it down on the dance floor. "When you waited to have kids right when they decide to pass the child tax credit bill," another parent posted, complete with a video of her dancing in her bathroom.
Here are just a few of the many parents posting celebratory TikToks to let the world know that they're, as Park and Recreation's Jean-Ralphio Saperstein would say, "fluuuuushed with cash!"
The monthly child tax credit payments are part of President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, which provides working families with $1,400 personal checks, extended unemployment insurance, and lower health insurance premiums with 100% federal government subsidies for COBRA health insurance coverage. Roughly $15 billion will be delivered to 35 million families across the country, 86% of which are sent by direct deposit. The payments will continue until the end of the year or unless a parent decides to unenroll, amounting to approximately $3,500 per child 5 and under, and $3,000 for kids 6 and older.
"I believe this is actually a historic day. A historic day in a sense as we continue to build an economy that respects and recognizes the dignity of working-class families and middle-class families," President Biden said during a speech on the day the first payments hit parents' bank accounts. "It's historic and it's our effort to make another giant step towards ending child poverty in America. I think this will be one of the things the vice president and I will be most proud of when our terms are up."
In 2018, prior to the pandemic hitting the United States, nearly one in six children lived in poverty — an estimated 11.9 million kids. After the pandemic ravaged the country, an additional 8 million Americans were flung into poverty, and nearly 4.2 million women were pushed out of the workforce due to a lack of access to affordable child care and an unequal division of labor within the home.
By the end of April 2020, a reported two in five households with moms who had children under 12 were food insecure. And in a country that refuses to offer systemic support to parents by way of mandatory paid family leave, access to affordable health care, and equal pay for equal work, parents crawling out of a devastating year are finally feeling a modicum of relief. As one TikTok user posted: "It finally pays to be a parent."
"You know, to give you a sense of how transformative this is, this would be the largest ever one-year decrease in child poverty in the history of the United States of America," President Biden said. "And we begin now."