President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Plan, the $1.75 billion social spending bill which is expected to go up for a vote in the House this week, contains language waiving the need for a child to have a Social Security Number in order for the parent or guardian to claim the Child Tax Credit, according to the New York Post. The current code states that the taxpayer must include the qualifying child’s Social Security number to claim the credit.
Repealing this aspect of the tax code – 26 US Code § 24 paragraph 7, if you’re curious – would enable parents of children without Social Security numbers to claim both the advance Child Tax Credit or to claim the fully refundable CTC on their tax filings.
The New York Post reports that changing the code could open the door to illegal immigrants claiming the credit for their children that are also illegally residing in the U.S. Expanding the CTC in this way could cost taxpayers up to $2.3 billion in additional CTC payments, according to Fox News.
Steven Camarota, a researcher at the Center for Immigration Studies, told Fox News, “Illegal immigrants are able to receive benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children. But the permanent elimination of the SSN requirement means that even illegal immigrants whose children are also illegally in the country can receive cash payments, including the roughly 600,000 unaccompanied minors and persons in family units stopped at the border in FY2021 and released.”
The new bill also eliminates the work requirement for people to file for the CTC, which could make it easier for people who work off the books to file for the credit, Camarota speculated to Fox News.
The enhanced and advance CTC distributed in 2021 has made great strides in reducing childhood poverty, studies show. As early as July 2021, the advance CTC helped to reduce childhood poverty by 25%, according to a Columbia University analysis. As part of the American Rescue Plan, the CTC was increased from $2,000 per child to $3,600 per child under 6 and $3,000 annually per child aged 6 and up.
The Build Back Better plan, in Congress now and awaiting a vote, extends the enhanced credit for at least one year.
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