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Child Tax Credit: What Parents Need to Know

​​​Raising children means giving them plenty of healthy food, a safe place to live, and other essentials to help them grow and thrive. But these things can be expensive.  And for many families, the pandemic has made it harder to make ends meet.

The federal Child Tax Credit​ (CTC) can help make the cost of caring for children more affordable. Here's what parents need to know:

What is the child tax credit?

The Child Tax Credit provides income to parents or guardians of children ages 17 and younger. This year, families can qualify for more money and can receive payments monthly, rather than having to wait until the end of the year.

Eligible families will receive:

  • $3,600 per child younger than 6.

  • $3,000 per child ages 6 to 17.

Starting on July 15, half of the credit amount will be paid in advance in monthly installments (typically $250-300/month). Families will receive the other half when they file their 2021 taxes.

Who is eligible for the child tax credit?

  • Parents or guardians of children under 18 at the end of 2021. Married couples can earn up to $150,000 per year and single parents can earn up to $112,500 per year and get the full benefit.

  • Children who have a Social Security Number (SSN). Parents who file using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) can claim the CTC for their eligible children.

The credit is fully refundable, which means that families don't need to have earned income or owe any income taxes to receive the payment. These benefits do not affect your eligibility for other federal benefits like SNAP or WIC​.

What do I need to do?


  • You filed taxes in 2019 or 2020. The credit will be deposited in your bank account or sent via a check in the mail on the 15th of every month for the rest of the year, starting July 15.


  • You gave the IRS your information in 2020 to receive a stimulus payment.


  • You did not file taxes in 2019 or 2020. If you did not file a tax return and haven't given the IRS your information to receive a stimulus payment, you need to sign up​ through the Non-filer Sign-up Tool available at​.

More information

Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2021)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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