Potential fraud, backlogs, a concern with monthly child tax credit checks

Potential fraud, backlogs, a concern with monthly child tax credit checks

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The parents of more than 2.5 million Illinois children are due to get up to $300 a month from now until the end of the year, starting Thursday, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Recent federal policy changed to credit eligible parents up to $300 per month, per child, instead of the parents having to wait for a refund at the end of the tax year.

 U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said it’s the “most dramatic experiment” ever to lift kids out of poverty. “We’re going to prove it out in the next six months that it works and in the process change the tax code back to where it was before the [former President Donald] Trump tax cuts on the wealthy on many respects and have the revenue to continue this,” Durbin said. Durbin wants to continue the program through 2025.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said families should keep more of their money but was skeptical of the Democrats’ plans. “What’s their goal,” Davis said. “Does that mean they’re also going to agree not to eliminate the child tax credit increase that we gave in the Trump tax cuts. Cause they’re looking to opening up the tax code to pay for their green new deal priorities,” a reference to proposals for more taxpayer-funded spending on future energy ideas. “They will talk about the child tax credit, they’ll talk about extending new provisions till 2025 and at the same time raise taxes on those same families that will take away the child tax credit that they are pushing,” Davis said.

Income thresholds for the monthly payments are $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a couple. The state’s median household income is nearly $65,900 in Illinois, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Durbin was asked if the program’s threshold is too high. “The idea was that if you’re making more than that then you certainly wouldn’t be asking for this kind of help,” Durbin said. “Will it be adjusted in the future? We’ll see.”

The IRS owes the families the refunds, but the program has money going out monthly, instead of families waiting for a lump sum at the end of the tax year. Davis said he hopes the rollout doesn’t resemble Illinois’ backlog-plagued, fraud-riddled unemployment system. “How are they going to ensure that those more regular payments get into the hands of the families that need it the most,” Davis said. “You don’t have to look too much further than the state of Illinois. … We’re still seeing instances of fraudulent activity, fraudulent unemployment claims that probably and likely cost the state hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars.”

The Better Business Bureau has already put out warnings about potential fraud schemes to be on alert about.

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