New Data Sheds Light on Where Populations Are “At-Risk” for Missing Out on the Expanded CTC

Tiffany E. Browne

In a special webinar presentation, Prosperity Now unveiled a new tool for helping to determine where eligible families may be missing out on the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC). Using data maps created by the Tax Policy Center, Prosperity Now identified populations that can potentially benefit from the CTC based on their location’s income poverty rate. Map viewers can look up specific zip codes to determine what percentage of that population is at risk of not filing taxes due to a confluence of barriers and therefore missing out on claiming the credit.

With the maps, Prosperity Now takes a broad look at areas where VITA organizations participate in the Expanding Economic Opportunity Through VITA Initiative.  As a highlight, the organization zooms in on areas served by their VITA project partners. Project partner Ceiba, located in Philadelphia, has a primary focus on financial inclusion within the city’s immigrant and returning citizen community. Within Ceiba’s service area the income poverty rate is 40.34%, and 6.6% of children are at risk for missing out on the CTC. Further south, Catalyst Miami services the Mami-Dade County area and specifically targets the immigrant and youth population. With an income poverty rate of 29.2%, the percentage of children at-risk for missing out on the CTC in Catalyst Mami’s service area is 10.43%.

In the presentation, Partnership for America’s Children underscored several reasons why a household may be at risk of missing out on the CTC:

  • Barriers to understanding the complex details of the program;
  • Their eligibility depends on having filed taxes, employment, or having a Social Security number;
  • Guardians may believe they need to be the legal parent to receive the credit;
  • The fear of having to pay back the monthly payments because an error or changes in their eligibility; and
  • Unique concerns within the immigrant community, including having their information shared with ICE.

Partnership for America’s Children shared that most families want assistance from advocates and service providers when applying for the CTC, and trusted messengers include government agencies or programs such as WIC, as well as lawyers.

The webinar also included tips on effective messaging that can break through some of the barriers and provide clarity around the CTC. Messages that worked well with families included language that explained the CTC, underscored the costs of raising a child, and emphasized the CTC is not a loan or something you pay back.

Visit Prosperity Now for the full webinar presentation.