Legislation seeks to increase child and income tax credits


MIDDLETOWN — In Middlesex County, 40% of children live below the limited assets, limited income and employment threshold, meaning more than 11,000 children from working families experience financial hardship every day.

We at Middlesex United Way are actively fighting this on many fronts, but we need your help.

For these families, every hour of every day is consumed by the stress and worry of how to keep food on the table, pay the rent, buy the new shoes a child needs, or afford the high cost of life-saving medicine. . Sustained stress not only has a dramatic impact on health and health outcomes, but research shows that child poverty is also associated with dire health outcomes.

Our neighbors disproportionately experience these untenable situations: 57% of black households in our state, 63% of Hispanic households, and 73% of single female-headed households with children live at or below this ALICE threshold.

The majority of black and Hispanic children in Connecticut – 72% and 67% respectively – lived in households that could not afford basic needs in 2019, compared to 26% of white children, according to a new report from Middlesex United Way and his research partner, United for ALICE.

This report reveals the disproportionate impact of financial hardship on black and Hispanic children in the state, while challenging the reliance on federal poverty guidelines for eligibility for aid programs.

The report finds that traditional measures of poverty have severely underestimated the number of children of all races ages 18 and younger in Connecticut who are growing up in financially insecure households.

While 13% of all children in the state were considered poor in 2019, the report shows that 29% – more than double – lived in families defined as ALICE.

These households earn more than the federal poverty level, but less than it costs to live and work in the modern economy. Combined, 38% of Connecticut children lived in households below the ALICE threshold, with an income that did not cover the basic costs of housing, child care, health care, transportation and a smartphone package.

Because ALICE households often earn too much to qualify for public assistance, the report finds that more than/nearly 192,000 at-risk children did not access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.

“Having accurate and complete data is the foundation for designing fair solutions,” said Stephanie Hoopes, Country Director of United For ALICE. “COVID-19 has hit ALICE families much harder than others because they struggle to build savings, but often don’t qualify for financial assistance.”

Middlesex County has seen an estimated 22% increase in food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new ALICE report shows that 41% of ALICE families said their children didn’t eat enough because they couldn’t afford to eat and their children “sometimes or often” didn’t have enough to eat.

Middlesex United Way supports programs that meet basic community needs, such as nutritious food. Over 1.8 million meals were served through Middlesex United Way funded programs in a single year.

From 2021, Middlesex United Way has supported a new scheme to provide nutritious weekend meals to hundreds of food-insecure primary school pupils.

Nearly half (45%) of Connecticut households below the ALICE threshold with children still had not received the Child Advance Tax Credit as of fall 2021.

Middlesex United Way is part of the Middlesex Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Coalition, which provides free tax preparation services to ensure low-income households have access to the tax credits they have earned, including child tax credit.

In a single year, Middlesex VITA helps up to 650 Middlesex County residents file their taxes, returning $1 million in refunds to the Middletown area.

Today, we call on residents to stand up for these children and families. You’re your Connecticut lawmakers this week, and let them know you support putting more income into the hands of families who live paycheck to paycheck.

Ask them to support SB 29 and HB 383, which increase the earned income tax credit to 41.5% and HB 5403 which establishes a child tax credit for families.

You can find your legislators on the CT General Assembly website CGA.CT.gov. To learn more about how ALICE families are supported in our community, please contact Christina Heckart at Christina.Heckart@middlesexunitedway.org.

Middlesex United Way is an organization based in Middletown.

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