Home Medizin Die Ausweitung der Steuergutschrift für Kinder im Jahr 2021 unterstützte Familien in schwierigen Zeiten der Pandemie

Die Ausweitung der Steuergutschrift für Kinder im Jahr 2021 unterstützte Familien in schwierigen Zeiten der Pandemie

von NFI Redaktion

A new study conducted by researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) shows that the recently expired Child Tax Credit (CTC) expansion in 2021 benefitted families who suffered financial setbacks due to health or employment problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Published in the Health Affairs journal, the study found that the monthly advance payments contained in the 2021 CTC expansion allowed all families with children to afford sufficient food, but particularly benefited families with children who experienced economic shocks – defined as job loss due to illness, vacation, or loss of employment – during the pandemic.

These payments, which brought in an additional $250 to $300 per month to most American households with children from July 2021 to December 2021, reduced food scarcity in families with children affected by these economic shocks by 11% compared to families that did not experience the shocks and families without children, according to the new findings. Families with low incomes, as well as Black and Hispanic families, benefited the most from this, as these groups were most likely to miss work and least likely to receive paid sick leave during the pandemic.

In addition to the monthly cash benefits, the CTC expansion also expanded eligibility to households with low or no income and provided larger credits to families with younger children under the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in 2021. Although the expansion lifted nearly 3 million children out of poverty and reduced food scarcity in all US households with children by 26%, Congress failed to extend the legislation at the end of 2021, and the benefits reverted to their narrower pre-pandemic structure in early 2022. Advocates of the legislation hope that the new proposal, part of a $78 billion tax package that was recently supported by both parties in the House of Representatives, will provide economic relief to families struggling financially.

This study is one of the first to examine how the impact of CTC advance payments differed across families based on health or employment problems they faced as a result of the pandemic. The researchers hope that this data can inform and strengthen the new legislation as it gains momentum. This is a slimmed-down version of the previous bill that restores eligibility for some low-income households, but excludes the lowest-income families and leaves out crucial monthly advance payments.

„Without the key benefits of monthly payments and eligibility for the lowest-income households, the current proposal falls short of the 2021 expansion. Fully restoring the 2021 benefits could lead to greater long-term resilience to hardships in future crises such as disease outbreaks, climate disasters, and recessions.“

Nicole McCann, Study Lead and Corresponding Author, Doctoral Student in Health Services and Policy Research at BUSPH

However, she says, „The current proposal is still an important step in the right direction,“ as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that if passed this year, it would benefit 16 million children and lift 400,000 out of poverty.

For the study, McCann and colleagues used nationally representative survey data to examine the relationship between monthly CTC advance payments and food scarcity in households with children – a total of more than 1.1 million Americans – who experienced job-related health or employment reasons from January 2021 to July 2022. Food scarcity (as compared to food insecurity) was defined by a single measurement assessing the quantity and quality of food in households in the past seven days, while food insecurity is determined by a more comprehensive set of factors developed by the US Department of Agriculture.

Families earning less than $35,000 annually were 150% more likely to experience these economic shocks during the pandemic than higher-income families, while Black and Hispanic households were 68% and 55% more likely to experience these shocks, respectively, compared to White households. After Congress failed to renew the CTC, these shocks were associated with an 80% increase in food scarcity.

„These results not only show that certain racial and ethnic groups were differently affected by the pandemic and the protective function of the CTC, but also why we are seeing these differences,“ says study co-author Dr. Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, Associate Professor of Health Law, Policy & Management at BUSPH. „Black and Hispanic families were most likely to lose their jobs or fall ill during the pandemic, and therefore had to endure the loss of income, leading to food scarcity and associated poor health effects due to not having enough food during times of significant financial stress.“

Additionally, the long-term benefits of a permanently restored CTC expansion would go beyond food and other daily necessities affordability, says study co-author Dr. Paul Shafer, Assistant Professor of Health Law, Policy, and Management at BUSPH.

„There is increasing evidence that the CTC advance payments also had positive effects on parents‘ mental health, reinforcing the case for revising this policy as a way to reduce economic precarity and promote family well-being,“ he says.

The study was jointly authored by researchers from BUSPH, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Boston Medical Center, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Source:

Boston University School of Public Health

Journal reference:

McCann, NC, et al. (2024). Association between child tax credit advance payments and food scarcity in households experiencing economic shocks. Health Affairs. doi.org/10.1093/haschl/qxae011.

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