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MomsRising member Heather and her family

Elyssa Schmier's picture

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit are two of the best tools our nation has to combat poverty. Each year the EITC and the Child Tax Credit helps millions of families avoid falling below the poverty line. It gives them enough money to buy essentials and keep their heads above water.

But these programs are at risk. If Congress doesn't take action soon, key provisions in these programs will expire by 2017, pushing 16 million people—including 8 million children and many military families—into poverty. Just last night it was announced that Senate Democratic leadership has reached a deal with the House of Representatives Republicans to introduce a tax package that includes over $444 billion in tax cuts for wealthy corporations but not a dime for working families who could benefit from the EITC and the Child Tax Credit.

Below are stories from real moms about how their families have been helped by the EITC and Child Tax Credit. These stories are powerful and show just how important this program is.

Lynda-Milpitas, California

“We used the EITC and the Child Tax Credit when my husband was serving in the United States Air Force and after he left the military and we were both working full time jobs in the civilian job market. It helped us make ends meet and we were extremely grateful that these tax credits were available to us. Eliminating these tax credits would hurt so many hardworking people and their families. Don't do it!!”

Tana-Billings, Montana

“The Earned Income Tax Credit is what we use to get eye care, glasses, and dental care for our child.  We are low middle income and cannot afford these things for our daughter without the tax break.  If billionaire corporate guys get tax breaks to hide money in off shore accounts how come married couples who work two to three full time jobs to support one child can't get a tax break to take care of their child?”

Kristiana-Niceville, Florida

“As a single mom and a disabled Vet. I know first hand how important the Earned Income Tax Credit was to us. We needed every penny we could get from our tax return. We were able to buy our first computer because of that. There was never enough to do something like that in our normal paycheck life. My kids used the heck out of that thing and straight A's as a result of the ease of research really made my day. Year after year something big that we really needed came as a result of getting the EITC. Please don't let it end. My daughter and grandson benefit now and it as important for them as it was when she was growing up.”

Harriet- Bay Village, Ohio

“My daughter was born when I was 16. I quit school when I became pregnant, a lot of shame. I was a pretty screwed up kid, trying to be a mom. After the death of my mom, I started a relationship with a young woman and together we became a family. This was in 1980. We both had jobs as servers in restaurants, barely making enough money to get by. Since the government recognized me as single, head of household, I was eligible for EITC. This extra income helped us provide for our daughter, clothes, food, shelter, making a home. Once I procured a position in manufacturing we no longer needed the extra help. Thank God it was there for us when we needed it.”

Christa- Greenville, South Carolina

“During the few years I was self-employed following the recession, the EITC (as well as SCHIP) kept my family afloat by giving us a shot in the arm -- we were able to purchase necessities we'd had to put off. As the breadwinner with two young children, this was incredibly important as it allowed me to focus on business rather than worrying about the next paycheck. The marketing and PR experience I built enabled me to land a great-paying job later on. These programs were absolutely there for us when we needed them most.”

Sarah-Lake Forest Park, Washington

“I am the single mother of four girls, three of whom are adopted. My former partner left the country and has never paid child support. I work 30 hours for an agency and 15 hours a week for my own small business. We still don't get by without the help of Medicaid, tax supports, and free/reduced lunch.  I am frugal but live in a house that needs attention! Here is how I spent my tax refund last year: I immediately registered the kids for Girl Scout day camp and Y day camp--great experiences which double as my child care during summer months.  My mother decided to postpone retirement this year, so she will not be a resource to us for another summer. I don't know how else to pay for summer care unless the Child Tax Credits remain the same or increases.”

Heather-Boise, Idaho

“When the economy tanked, we lost our taxi company. My husband was unemployed, and I went to work for $12/hr. This became even less, when I was partially laid off- two winters in a row! Our family of four was hard-pressed even to pay the bills, much less the mortgage.  We finally broke down and applied for SNAP, unemployment, and other help, to make it through. When tax time came around, we found out that since we'd not claimed the EITC and Child Tax Credit before, we were able to get 2 years' worth of the tax credit, just in the nick of time, because we were about to lose our house, due to missed mortgage payments. From that day forward, I used this strategy to make sure that our payments are on time, and my kids have a roof over their heads: we save our tax return money- ALL of it- and use it strictly to pay the mortgage. Five years later, and we have not missed a single payment! In the meantime, our economic situation has gotten better- this year, my husband was able to find work (part-time), and I've gotten a raise. But without the EITC and Child Tax Credits, we would be in a very different situation. It gave us the ability to pick up the pieces, and pull ourselves up.”

Corrine-Lexington, Kentucky

“Many years ago, when my son was a toddler, my now ex-husband and I separated. Because we hadn't gone to court yet to get a legal separation, he paid a mere pittance in child support. I was only able to work part-time, since I had primary custody of my son, so I brought home a small paycheck every week. Luckily, I had access to free babysitting, as well as a family who helped me out from time to time with groceries, rent, etc. Also, our pediatrician understood my dire financial circumstances, so he provided my child with free samples of medicine whenever he could. At tax time every year, I earned so little annually that I had all of my taxes refunded. However, if it weren't for the EITC, I couldn't have made it financially at all. Along with the CTC, I was able to have enough tax money refunded to help me financially throughout the year. If it weren't for these tax credits, my toddler son and I would have suffered badly, with me being unable to pay rent to keep a roof over our heads, put food on the table, buy clothes for my quickly-growing child, etc."


Do you have your own experience with the EITC and Child Tax Credit? MomsRising would love to hear from you. Share your experiences here:

Take an extra minute and write your members of Congress and tell them to protect, support, and strengthen the EITC and Child Tax Credit:

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