August Child Tax Credit Payments May Hit a Real Snag With Unforeseen Delay

The expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments for August may be delayed, the U.S. Department of Treasury warned this weekend. The payments were scheduled to go out on Friday and, depending on the means of delivery, arrive between Friday and Monday. Now, that timetable is likely skewed once again due to a technical glitch.

The Treasury Department issued a press release on Friday saying that there is a "technical issue" impacting just under 15 percent of CTC payment recipients. This glitch will cause some families to receive their payment through a paper check in the mail even if they have set up direct deposit with the IRS. The cause is not clear, but as always recipients can track their personal payments on the IRS' website here. It should show whether the check is coming by mail, and what address the agency has on file.

The CTC is a part of President Joe Biden's "American Rescue Plan," and is meant to specifically help parents and families get through the economic turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden expanded the CTC for the second half of 2021, so that it will pay eligible parents $3,600 per child under 6 years old, and $3,000 per child between the ages of 6 and 17 years old, according to a report by CBS News.

These payments are being distributed monthly from July to December, but both payments to go out so far have been riddled with complications. According to the IRS, it is distributing payments for about 61 million children broken down into 35 million families. That's up 1.6 million children from July, so the families that were missed in the first round will be getting bigger payments this time around.

The CTC program is meant to give fast relief to families struggling under the current economic conditions, but that is not the only factor for eligibility. Financial experts are advising those with the flexibility to do so to opt out of the monthly payments and instead take a lump sum with their tax refund in 2022. This will apparently save them some headaches and provide more money overall.

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For the rest, the IRS online portal remains the lifeline to these much-needed funds. The website is updated every 24 hours, so it is not a live account of the payment process, but it does allow eligible parents to update their information and make regular checkups. The next CTC payment goes out on Sept. 13, and the deadline to opt out of monthly payments is Aug. 30.