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Expanded Child Tax Credit a 'game changer' for some MN families

“If it wasn’t for the help we’ve been getting, I don’t know where we’d be. We definitely wouldn’t have our house still.”

ST PAUL, Minn — More than 600,000 families in Minnesota will get a check this month as part of the Expanded Child Tax Credit benefiting nearly 60 million children across the country.

And that check – or automatic deposit – will make all the difference for one St. Paul business owner and mother of two.

“This coming month, we were talking about, ‘we’re short at least a hundred or two. We don’t know what we’re going to do.’ And then we forgot all about these checks, and they hit,” said Sara Aegerter, mother of 5-year-old Theali and 4-year-old Phoari.

Aegerter owns her own massage and personal training business, which she had to close, “when COVID hit.” Her husband was also laid off at the start of the pandemic.

“I want to tell myself I’m not in poverty, but we do live check-to-check,” she said, adding, “If it wasn’t for the help we’ve been getting, I don’t know where we’d be. We definitely wouldn’t have our house still.”

‘A true game changer’ 

And Aegerter isn’t alone in feeling that gratitude and relief, according to Mark Berger with Berger Financial Group based in Plymouth.

“Due to the size of the payment, and if you have three children five and under, this is up to $900 a month. Would that make a difference for a low-income family? I’d say wholeheartedly yes. If it’s truly aimed at children in poverty, I think this is a genuine game changer,” Berger said.

The additional credit – that represents an increase from the usual $2,000 per child credit – is fully available to families making less than $150,000 a year or single parents making less than $112,000. Most families will automatically receive the advanced payment of the credit in the remaining six months of 2021. But some reports suggest families opt out of that advanced payment, if your expected income in 2021 is higher than 2020 or 2019, when the payments were calculated.

And Berger notes those who have previously not filed tax returns – perhaps due to not meeting the income minimum – also need to register for the credit at whitehouse.gov.

Bottom line, Berger believes the credit could help families that need that help the most.

“After the monetary losses of the COVID year, this is a huge deal to many families,” he said.

And on that point, Sara Aegerter absolutely agrees.

“I really think COVID was a chance for us to reevaluate how America is going and the way we would like to start going,” she said, adding, “Remember this is about us all as one. We’re all in this world together.”

For more information, just go to: ChildTaxCredit.gov.