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Tulsa organizations offering help to families most in need of child tax credit ahead of Monday application deadline

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Families with the biggest need for the child tax credit included in the American Rescue Plan have until Monday to claim it.

While automatic payments started going out in July to families that filed taxes in the past two years, households that didn’t file because their incomes were below the filing requirement must complete an application for the credit.

Up to $1,800 per child is available now for kids 5 years old and younger, and up to $1,500 is available now for older kids. The total credit is up to $3,600 for kids 5 years old and younger, and $3,000 for older kids.

"It has the power to bring about half of families who are in poverty out of poverty over the next year. That's a huge thing," said Tulsa Responds Executive Director Marcela Swenson.

Tulsa Responds, Birth Through Eight Strategy for Tulsa and Tulsa Financial Empowerment Center have joined together to encourage families to claim the credit and help them do it. An estimated 4,000 Tulsa County kids are at risk of missing out on the payments. Receiving the tax credit will not affect federal benefits families may be receiving.

People can check their eligibility for the tax credit at getctc.org, or Tulsa Responds navigators will contact people who fill out an eligibility form online at tulsaresponds.org/childtaxcredit. They can also help over the phone at 918-900-0918.

Swenson said there's also help for people to file taxes next year to get the full credit and plan what to do with the money.

"So, for anyone who is wondering how to spend this money or is not sure how to best put these tax credits to use, the Financial Empowerment Center offers free counseling sessions so you can learn how to make these dollars go as far as possible. And again, those are free services," Swenson said.

Once the child tax credit application window closes, it will not reopen until February.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.