By Nadia Ramlagan for WVNS
An estimated 346,000 West Virginia children, 93% of all kids in the state, live in households that likely received their first Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments last week.
Stormy Johnson, with the Preston County Board of Education and a mother of three children, said the extra cash provided by the CTC will help her make her monthly car payment.
“Here in Preston County, if you don’t have a vehicle, you don’t have a lot,” Johnson observed. “Because we don’t have access to public transportation like there are in some different counties.”
The increased payments in this year’s child tax credit, which expires at the end of this year, could reduce child poverty by 43% in West Virginia, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Johnson added the additional money would go toward household expenses if it became permanent.
“And if it weren’t a vehicle, then I’d use it to get groceries because I don’t qualify for SNAP,” Johnson explained.
Amy Jo Hutchinson, an anti-poverty advocate and fellow at the Center for Community Change, said many West Virginians are in Johnson’s situation.
“We have so many people who are in that gap between being able to qualify for assistance, and not qualifying for assistance, but really struggling to make ends meet,” Hutchinson pointed out. “And those are the families who are going to have huge benefits from this expanded child tax credit.”
It’s expected an additional 170,000 children in the state are eligible for the tax credit, even if they have not been in previous years, according to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.