Poor mothers get shut out of the Child Tax Credit, our research finds

May 4, 2022
Poor mothers get shut out of the Child Tax Credit, our research finds

Analysis by Ashley Nunes
Washington Post

With the midterm elections coming, Democrats are trying to push through key legislative priorities — including
renewing the child tax credit (CTC), which gives working parents a credit for each child and will expire in December
2025. No one doubts that it will be renewed; the credit has broad bipartisan public support.

Our study shows that over 1.5 million parents — 80 percent of whom are women — may be excluded from the full
child tax credit despite working. At the current federal minimum wage, we estimate that a single parent would have
to work over 63 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, to claim the full benefit. What’s more, we find that the income
required to claim the full benefit — $24,000 — far exceeds the poverty threshold ($18,677 for a single-parent family
in 2021), set by the Census Bureau.
Put another way, poor parents must earn more than poverty threshold to claim a benefit aimed at lifting them out of
poverty.