BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – More money is on its way to millions of families in the form of the expanded child tax credit.

Half of the annual $3,600 credit, which is $1,600 dollars more than it was last year, starts coming next week.

It’s bringing hope to struggling families.

Vonetta Rhodes is a Buffalo mom of two. Her younger son is eligible for the expanded child tax credit.

Vonetta spoke Thursday at an event with Urban League, PUSH Buffalo, and more, reminding people that the checks start coming July 15.

“For some reason, people think that just because the state has opened back up and the country has opened back up, that money just fell from the sky, and I’m okay, and my child is okay, and our children are okay. But we are not okay,” she said.

“I was very emotional up there because I didn’t realize…it really didn’t hit me on how hard this last two years especially has been, and so having this child tax credit is such a great help,” Vonetta said.

Buffalo is still a poor city.

Congressman Brian Higgins says 91 percent of families in this district are eligible for the expanded credit.

“That is an investment in the future of this community. That’s an investment in the future of this country,” Rep. Higgins said.

It would help people like a young mom who shared her struggles with reporters on Thursday, too.

“As a full-time student and working mother of a little one, I know what it’s like to have to struggle with childcare. There are times where I’ve had to choose between school, work, or my daughter, and I had to miss school and work because I couldn’t afford to pay for childcare,” she said.

So who is eligible for the expanded child tax credit, half of which comes in monthly checks for the rest of this year?

  • $75,000 or less for single taxpayer
  • $112,000 or less for head of household
  • $150,000 or less for married couples filing jointly

Families who fall below these income thresholds qualify.

Mayoral candidate India Walton described struggles with her own kids and others’ kids as reasons why this money matters.

“As a school nurse, I saw children who were not coming to me because they were sick, but because they were tired. Because they were hungry. Because they were experiencing multiple community traumas and violence, and this is going to help those children be more prepared to learn,” Walton said.

And Mayor Byron Brown revealed for the first time he and his wife are taking care of a great-nephew and great-niece who can’t be cared for by their own parents right now.

He’s hoping something like the expanded child tax credit will help the children’s parents eventually be able to raise them again.

“We were told if a member of the family did not step in, the children would be put in the foster care system. Michelle said we cannot allow that to happen. We’ve had the children ever since. We’ve had them for over eight months now,” Brown told reporters.

The payments are $300 dollars a month for kids under 6, and $250 a month for kids 6 to 17 for those eligible for the expanded credit.

The rest of the expanded child tax credit can be claimed during your 2021 tax filing, and more families who make more money than these maximum thresholds can still claim the regular $2,000 child tax credit when they file.

Right now, this is only for this year, but Congressman Higgins wants to make it permanent.