NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Included in President Joe Biden's massive COVID-19 relief package is a historic step that experts say will reduce child poverty.
Karla Velasquez with Bronxworks helps thousands of the city's poorest file for taxes every year. It's why she's so invested in the major transformation of the country's Child Tax Credit , hoping it will be a game changer for low-income families.
"It gets to be a big number. It can be as equal as what a person makes for the year," Velasquez told CBS2's Christina Fan on Wednesday.
Families have been receiving a tax credit of $2,000 a year per child. The American Rescue Plan bumps that amount up to $3,600.
Jason Cone, with the nonprofit Robin Hood, believes the move will lift 4.5 million kids out of poverty nationwide, including more than 22,000 in New York state.
"It's probably the single biggest poverty alleviation effort in the history of the country, to be honest," Cone said.
The overhaul corrects a key flaw in the old law. Previously, families with low income weren't eligible for the full amount. Those limits have now been lifted.
"That can go towards things like child care, which can allow family member to work. It can go to covering supplemental education for children, particularly in COVID," Cone said.
Velasquez said most of the families she serves make between $15,000 and $24,000 a year.
The financial pressure directly affects kids at home.
"When you hear your mom crying in the bedroom because I don't know if we going to be on the streets tomorrow, that's a stress that you take everywhere with you as a child," Velasquez said.
The monthly payments from the government to alleviate that stress will begin in July. As of now, the expansion of the Child Tax Credit is only designed for one year.
CBS2's Christina Fan contributed to this report
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