When the Child Tax Credit (CTC) was first expanded as part of the American Rescue Plan, the Daily Yonder assessed the impact of the the measure, using our customary mix of data-driven analysis and written commentary. We brought the same approach when the expansion was set to expire.

Now, as advocates and policymakers pursue options for keeping the expanded CTC in effect, we wanted to add another approach. Because number-crunching and political analysis aren’t for everyone, we asked Graphic Journalist Nhatt Nichols to lend her pad and pen to this issue, as she did previously with other American Rescue Plan projects.

Check out the comic below to catch up on what the expanded CTC has done for rural families and what’s at stake going forward.

comic panel depicts a family and reads: Before last year, the Child Tax Credit was a refund that came back to families once per year after they filed their taxes.
comic panel depicts woman working and reads: To receive the full credit for one child, households had to earn $12,000 or more.
comic panel depicts another woman working and reads: This translates into working at least 32 hours a week at minimum wage.
comic panel depicts despairing woman and reads: It did not fully phase in for a second child until a household earned over $21,000. That's over 58 hours a week at minimum wage.
comic panel depicts father and child and reads: Solo parents working for minimum wage, arguably the most vulnerable financially, often would not benefit from the credit for a second child.
comic panel depicts two children and reads: The American Rescue Plan Act temporarily increased the amount from $2,000 per child to $3,000.
Comic panel depicts a house and reads: And it lowered the bar so that families that did not meet the minimum earnings threshold could benefit from the child tax credit
Comic panel depicts a shopper holding a large stack of grocery items and reads: Most importantly, for paycheck-to-paycheck families it sent out monthly payments of $250 to $300 to help offset monthly bills
comic panel depicts pieces of bread and reads: These payments made a big difference for some families.
comic panel depicts person wading in water and reads: Household survey data from the Census shows that most West Virginia families used it to pay off debt, put food on the table, and buy clothing and other essentials for their kids.
comic panel depicts a pie with a slice cut out and reads: Rural counties benefitted from these changes more than metropolitan ones, as they make up 86% of those identified as being in persistent poverty by the USDA.
comic panel depicts children playing and reads: This translates into roughly 1 in 4 rural children living in poverty.
comic panel depicts a child reaching for food and reads: According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the changes raised an estimated 4.1 million children out of poverty.
comic panel depicts a sunflower field and reads: Meaning that more than a million rural children and their parents have benefitted from the expanded tax credit.
comic panel depicts small town buildings and reads: Ending the expansion will again widen the poverty gap between rural and metropolitan areas
comic panel depicts brother and sister embracing and reads: And could throw thousands of children back into crisis.
comic panel depicts a speaker on stage and reads: Ash Orr at the West Virginia Center for Budget and Policy estimates that 50,000 kids in their state are at risk of falling back below the poverty line.
comic panel depicts Ash Orr saying: Parents are having to make hard choices.
comic panel depicts Ash Orr saying: One family that I've spoken to has been using the CTC to pay for their daughter's medical care,
comic panel depicts Ash Orr saying: And without that money, they have to make hard choices between food and bills.
comic panel depicts a chicken coop and reads: Many families are in a worse position now than before the pandemic.
comic panel depicts a woman putting on a mask and reads: Food costs are rising, and not all jobs have returned for people who were laid off.
comic panel depicts state of West Virginia and reads: Ash says that in West Virginia, many jobs that have come back aren't safe for people who have health concerns.
comic panel depicts couple embracing and reads: And people are being forced to make hard choices between paying their bills or work that compromises their health.
comic panel depicts US Capitol dome and reads: The CTC expansion was set to remain in effect as part of the now dead Build Back Better bill, but activists hope that the fight isn't over.
comic panel depicts parent and child walking and reads: For families who've relied on it, there's a chance it will be included in a new bill this spring

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