The American Rescue Plan’s Stimulus Checks and Child Tax Credit Expansion Provides Thousands In Vital Financial Support For Working Families Across WNY 

Refundable Tax Credit AND Stimulus Checks Bring An Estimated $1.62 Billion Directly Into The Pockets of Buffalo Families 

Schumer To WNY Families: Help Is On The Way

Following his successful steering to passage of the broader American Rescue Plan and standing at Explore and More in Downtown Buffalo, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer detailed plans that will dramatically impact the lives of thousands of working families across Western New York in a direct effort to combat the scourge of child poverty, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, through an expansion of the Child Tax Credit – which, experts say, will cut child poverty in half – and an additional round of $1,400 direct payments to low and middle-income families, that will flow to upwards of 85% of Western New Yorkers.

“Help is here for upwards of 85% of working families in Western New York, who will receive a big and vital boost from the $1400 stimulus checks that are in the mail,” said Senator Schumer. “Plus, the new and more robust Child Tax Credit will be a game-changing lifeline to countless Buffalo children trapped in poverty, something that is a particular bane here in Buffalo. Experts say that this policy alone can cut child poverty in half, which is a huge step forward that benefits all New Yorkers.”

Schumer added, “Right now, hundreds of families across Western New York rely on an important tax break – called the Child Tax Credit – to help them make ends meet. In the midst of the pandemic and economic crisis, this tax credit becomes all the more important for low- and middle-income families with young children who are trying to put food on the table. That is why I made sure this relief bill included help for those families – through this significant expansion of the Child Tax Credit that will cut the nation’s child poverty rate in half and bring necessary relief for Buffalo and Erie County’s most vulnerable. This credit expansion – combined with the additional $1,400 direct checks – will provide working families with thousands of dollars of relief, directly in their pockets. Getting additional federal dollars into the hands of struggling families not only makes sense, but it’s what’s needed to help Buffalo and New York weather and recover from the pandemic.”

Schumer explained the Child Tax Credit (CTC), one of the most powerful and effective anti-poverty tools the federal government has, was significantly expanded for low and middle-income households in the American Rescue Plan. This tax credit expansion will deliver an estimated $7.03 billion in additional economic relief to families with children across New York and have a major impact on Western New York working families.

Schumer highlighted that researchers have estimated that the American Rescue Plan – including the expanded Child Tax Credit – will cut the child poverty rate in half nationally. Specifically, the relief bill increases the Child Tax Credit amount from $2,000 to $3,000 per child age 6 to 17 (and $3,600 per child below the age of 6) for 2021.

Additionally, the bill makes the CTC fully refundable and removes the $2,500 earnings floor to receive the credit for 2021, ensuring that the lowest income households will be able to benefit from the maximum credit amount for the year. This change importantly corrected flaws in the credit that prevented around 27 million children nationwide whose families have little or no income from receiving the full benefit – and in New York State alone, this credit expansion will benefit 1,546,000 of these children who were previously left out of the full Child Tax Credit.

The increased $3,000 or $3,600 CTC is available to low and middle-income families making less than $150,000, and it phases down above that income level, so households over $150,000 will see a reduced credit. This boosted credit amount is particularly impactful in lower-income households, as it has been found that increasing a low-income child’s family income early in their life has numerous, critical longer-term benefits on education, health, and even employment. Specifically, it is estimated that a $3,000 increase in annual family income for children under age five translates into an estimated 19 percent earnings increase in adulthood.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, an estimated 3,564,000 children across New York will benefit from this expanded tax credit – including 583,000 Black, 954,000 Latino, and 266,000 Asian American children. It will also lift 680,000 children in the state above or closer to the poverty line. It is estimated that New York families will receive $7.03 billion in total relief from the enhanced CTC.

Locally, roughly 43% of children, more than 25,000 in the City of Buffalo, are living below the poverty line. Buffalo has ranked as high as second in recent years for child poverty amongst similarly-sized cities across the country. Additionally, neighboring cities like Jamestown and Niagara Falls, each at 45% themselves, are facing the same issues. The Buffalo News estimates that families in Buffalo alone will receive more than $77 Million in direct assistance from this tax credit. Estimates of similar legislation to expand the Child Tax Credit indicate that approximately 107,000 households in the Greater Buffalo-Niagara region will benefit from the strengthened credit. Nationwide, the tax credit expansion will benefit nearly 66 million children, and it will lift nearly 10 million children above or closer to the federal poverty line, while providing a significant boost for working families.

Schumer also highlighted the need for eligible families, particularly those who have not filed a tax return in either 2019 or 2020, to file their 2020 taxes as soon as possible. The American Rescue Plan stipulates that instead of having to wait to claim the entire tax credit on 2021 tax returns, eligible filers can receive half of this credit as an advance payment, received in equal installments starting in July through the end of the year. After that, those same families will be able to claim the remaining half of the credit when they file their 2021 tax returns next year. Schumer lauded this as another way the American Rescue Plan will help families by providing longer-term stability and additional economic assistance throughout the year, and as a means to put food on the table.

Schumer went on to detail the scope of the child poverty issue in Western New York. While the overall number of children living in poverty in Erie and surrounding counties is close to the state poverty level of 18%, the numbers greatly increase in cities with a higher population density. These high rates of child poverty make the strengthened Child Tax Credit all the more critical to the region.


Most Populous City

Cattaraugus – 20%

Olean – 24%

Chautauqua – 25%

Jamestown – 45%

Erie – 20%

Buffalo – 43%

Niagara – 16%

Niagara Falls- 45%

The American Rescue Plan also included an additional round of $1,400 direct payments to individuals making less than $75,000 and married couples making less than $150,000. Households will also receive a $1,400 payment for each eligible child and non-child dependent, amounting to $5,600 in total payments for an average family of four.

New York is expected to receive around $22 billion in total direct payment relief, with approximately $1.54 billion for Western New York alone going to an estimated 615,700 households in the region. This will help working families in the region to cover essential expenses like food, rent or mortgages, and even medical bills during this crisis.

Schumer also highlighted several other ways the American Rescue Plan will help working families in Western New York and across the country:

  • Further expanding the SNAP program.
  • Extending $300 enhanced unemployment benefits through September 6, 2021
  • Billions in primary and secondary school and dedicated child care funding


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