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An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association in October confirmed previous research that food insecurity increased substantially after the federal monthly advance child tax credits expired on January 15, 2022.
The study analyzed the period between January and July of this year in a series of national surveys and found an increase of almost 25% in food insufficiency, which affects black, Hispanic and indigenous families the most.
The article published on October 21 in JAMA, “Association of Early Childhood Tax Credit Due Payments with Food Insufficiency in US Households.”, involved a cross-sectional study of repeated surveys of a nationally representative sample of 592,044 US households.
“The findings of this study suggest that the loss of monthly payments (Child Tax Credit) was associated with an increased prevalence of households with children in the US reporting that they sometimes or often do not have enough to eat , a condition associated with adverse health outcomes. throughout life”, conclude the article’s findings.
Monthly payments of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Advance Child Tax Credit (CTC) were administered to more than 35 million households with children in the US between July and December 2021. Center figures of Budgetary and Political Priorities show that the loans benefited approximately 2.37 million children in Ohio. The tax credits were associated with a substantial decrease in food inadequacy, according to the study.
Under ARPA, three major changes to the credit were enacted for fiscal year 2021: an expansion of eligibility to include families with very low income or no income; an increase in credit amounts from a maximum credit of $2,000 per child per year prior to $3,000 per child 6-17 per year and $3,600 per child under 6 per year; and provision of half of the credit as a monthly payment in advance between July and December 2021.
As a result of these changes, approximately 92% of families with children were eligible to receive $250 to $300 per month per child between July and December 2021, according to the study. National data shows that parents report spending monthly CTC payments on food, utilities, rent, clothing and educational expenses, the article says.
These monthly payments were due in January 2022 after the US Congress failed to extend the policy.
During a series of surveys conducted by researchers just before the expiration of the CTC, unadjusted household food insufficiency was 12.7% among households with children.
At the end of January and beginning of February 2022, after the first missed monthly CTC payment, 13.6% of households with children reported food insufficiency, increasing to 16% at the end of June and beginning of July 2022.
“Given the well-documented associations between the inability to pay for food and poor lifetime health outcomes, Congress should consider swift action to reinstate this policy,” the JAMA article recommended.
These latest findings reflect earlier research conducted by the Brookings Institution’s nonpartisan national research group and published in April 2022 in a report titled “The impacts of the 2021 Expanded Child Tax Credit on family employment, nutrition, and financial well-being.”
Brookings researchers said the temporary expansion of the tax credit was “unprecedented in its scope” and lifted 3.7 million children out of poverty in December 2021.
“The expanded CTC significantly improved food security and healthy eating among those eligible,” Brookings found.
Also, according to that study, about 70% of CTC recipients who were negatively affected by inflation said the payments helped them better manage higher prices.
In addition to increased food security, Brookings said that in other areas the tax credits helped families include statistically significant decreases in credit card debt compared to people who are not eligible; reductions in reliance on high-cost financial services such as payday loans and pawnshops, as well as reduced sales rates for blood plasma; greater capacity to manage emergency expenses and strengthening of family emergency funds; and significant decreases in evictions.
Brookings also found that credit enabled families of color to make significant investments in their children’s long-term educational outcomes. Black, Hispanic and other non-white households were more likely to use the credit for education and child care expenses, Brookings found.
South Dakota Searchlight is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. South Dakota Searchlight maintains editorial independence. Contact editor Seth Tupper with questions: [email protected] Follow the South Dakota searchlight on Facebook Y Twitter.
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