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Recovery Bill Should Restore Child Tax Credit to Children Without Social Security Numbers

In upcoming recovery legislation Congress should restore Child Tax Credit eligibility to the up to 675,000 children who aren’t eligible for a Social Security number because of their immigration status but may be claimed as tax dependents using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). A provision in the 2017 tax law denied the credit to such children — even though there is broad support to grant them legal status and ensure that their families, like others, have the resources to meet their children’s needs and help them thrive.

Repealing this provision would give children with ITINs access to the same credit as other children. For 2021, the American Rescue Plan expands the credit amounts to $3,600 per child under age 6 and $3,000 per child aged 6 to 17 (up to certain income thresholds), and the full credit is available to children whose parents lack earnings or have low earnings in a year. We estimate the cost of giving the expanded credit to children with ITINs at $1.9 billion a year, a sound investment not just for their sake but the nation’s.

The country has a stake in ensuring that these children get the resources they need to realize their potential. A permanent Child Tax Credit expansion that includes these children would help them and their families meet basic needs and decrease hardship. And when families have more adequate resources, children do better in school and are better equipped for future success in our communities and economy.