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Having a Kid This Year? Here’s What the COVID Relief Bill Means for You

New, or expectant, parents can still qualify for a dependent stimulus checks and the child tax credit. Here's how to get them.

Joe Biden is scheduled to sign his COVID relief package tomorrow, a law that will put billions of dollars directly into Americans’ pockets through extended unemployment benefits, a third stimulus payment, and a dramatic expansion of the child tax credit. The latter two pay out more money to parents because they provide money to Americans on a per-dependent basis. But what if you’re going to become pregnant in 2021, or are pregnant but haven’t yet given birth by the time the checks are disbursed? You can still get in on the money — here’s how.

Parents-to-Be In 2021 Are Still Eligible for Stimulus Checks, the Child Tax Credit

The good news for parents-to-be is that they are also eligible. So if you’re planning on having a kid, adopting, or fostering in 2021 then, assuming you meet the income requirements, you could be in line for an extra $5,000—$3,600 from the child tax credit and a $1,400 stimulus check—even if you have to wait longer than parents of kids born before 2021 will.

The process to get the stimulus money will be similar to what parents who had kids in 2020 went through to claim the stimulus payments disbursed last year.

Here’s How Parents-To-Be Can  Get The Stimulus Checks, CTC Money They’re Owed

Simply fill out the line on next year’s (2022) edition of IRS form 1040 reserved for the Recovery Rebate Credit if you’ve gained a dependent in the 2021 year. If you’re an individual whose 2021 income is $80,000 or less or a couple whose 2021 income is $160,000 or less, then you’ll be eligible for some kind of payment for the fact alone that you had a kid and therefore had a qualifying life event.

The child tax credit will be paid out for current parents half as an end-of-year tax credit and half as monthly payments to parents, likely starting in July. But even if you have a kid on December 31, 2021, you can still claim the full amount on next year’s taxes assuming you meet the income requirements: a full $3,600 payment (or $3,000 for kids 6-17) for individuals making $75,000 and couples making $150,000. The amount of the payment decreases with income over thresholds, zeroing out at $95,000 and $170,000, respectively.

If you find yourself above those amounts, you can still claim the old $2,000 per dependent child tax credit for individuals with incomes up to $200,000 and couples with incomes up to $400,000. There’s a similar phase-out in that credit, and it zeroes out at $240,000 and $440,000 in income, respectively.

The American Rescue Plan, while not as ambitious as it was originally conceived, is still a groundbreaking piece of legislation. And that fact that it provides parents with up to $5,000 per kid, an unheard-of level of direct economic aid from the federal government, is something parents, non-parents, and parents-to-be can celebrate.