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In today’s installment of We Are MomsRising, we talked to MacKenzie in New Hampshire about how the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Child Tax Credit (CTC) help her family!  Read her story below. MacKenzie also recently wrote an op-ed. You can read it here. To learn more about the We Are MomsRising campaign, check out this blog

My husband and I just bought a house in Nottingham with our 6-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter. We had my son just as we were getting out of college and starting our careers. We were living paycheck to paycheck, even though we both had degrees and decent jobs. 

The cost of living is just so high. 

I worked for the same organization for my whole career until about 2 years ago when they suddenly lost funding and I lost my job. At the time, I was on maternity leave. My husband I just looked at each other like, “oh my God, what are we gonna do?” 

We had just had a new baby, we had started renting this incredibly expensive new house - the only thing we could find on the market - and losing my income was just a disaster. I knew I needed to be making a higher income so I took the opportunity to go back to school and get my master’s degree. 

We started to receive the EITC when I had my son. We probably only qualified for the EITC for two or three years because our income kept increasing, which is the whole idea. It was 2015, and we were young parents, still starting out in our careers. It went straight to necessities like rent, medical bills, health insurance, and groceries. It definitely didn’t go to frivolities. We still receive the CTC every year, and it’s a huge help for us. Right now we’re using it to pay down debt. I incurred a huge amount of debt when I went back to school. The CTC also helped us pay off our medical bill from our daughter’s C-Section. She was born two years ago, and we just finished paying it off. 

It’s frustrating, because you feel like you’re making good decisions for family by going back to school, getting health insurance through employer, all of that - but then you get hit with things you’re not expecting or things end up being a bigger deal than you’re expecting. 

If the CTC were increased to 3000/year per child under six - holy moly! It could help us with so much. We’re both working full time so childcare is a huge expense, which makes it even harder to pay for things like student loans and housing. We’re having a lot of trouble getting ahead and building up a savings to pay for unexpected expenses. We were able to finally buy our own house, but needed a cosigner. It’s difficult to swallow when you’re married with two children, you have a master’s degree, and you need all the extra help you can get just to do the “basic life stuff.” A credit like that could definitely help us get ahead on our bills so we could help build savings, pay off student loan debt, and prepare for our future.

The EITC does what it’s supposed to do - it helps families get on their feet and get to a better place where they can be more self sufficient. It helped me go back to school, and now I I have a better paying job because of it. It truly made my life better. It helps parents do better, which means children do better and have more opportunities to succeed in life. It’s a trickle down effect. We want what’s best for our children, and our children deserve the best! 

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