When Lori Quichocho, 43, received her first child tax credit advance payment, she used it to pay off a portion of her electric bills which were saved for about six months, even after agreeing to ‘a payment plan with the Guam Power Authority.
Having electricity at home, she said, is a medical necessity because her 4-year-old son and fifth-year daughter have asthma and they need an electric nebulizer, as well as an air conditioner. .
“Between electricity and water, I would choose electricity,” she said. “We can buy bottled water if we have to, but we need electricity to make sure we can use the nebulizer.”
Quichocho lost her job in August as an internal healthcare provider for the elderly. Her husband has a disability and he can no longer work. She also takes care of her elderly mother.
“The advance child tax credit has helped us at least to stay current. Any help available, I guess,” she told the Guam Daily Post.
The Ministry of Revenue and Taxes has paid out the first two installments of the advance child tax credit, and the next is expected by October 15.
Child tax credit advance payments represent 50% of the estimated amount of child tax credit that a person can properly claim on their Guam 2021 tax return during the 2022 tax reporting season.
People can opt out of the advance child tax credit program before October 11. Once removed, however, applicants cannot be reinstated into the program, officials said.
But for those, like Quichocho, who still struggle financially as the pandemic continues, withdrawing from the early child tax credit program is not an option.
The federally funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which has been a lifeline for the Quichocho family for months, has also ended and they have been unable to find a job.
“I am upset that I lost my job but I have to go ahead and find a new one for my family,” she said.
She has also requested and is awaiting her All RISE payment to help feed her family.
Quichocho said she had not been made aware, until recently, of the Administration Ministry’s emergency rent assistance program which provides rent and utility payments to families affected by the pandemic. . She said she would apply for the program and hopes her family will qualify.
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Cynthia Arjona said receiving both the early child tax credit and all RISE payments was “worth the patient wait.”
Arjona said she quit her job after being diagnosed with breast cancer, so her husband is the family’s sole caregiver.
“In this time of a pandemic, every penny counts,” she said, adding the couple would use the money for their daughter’s tuition at the University of Guam.
Amanda Marie Q. Santos said she felt a “sense of relief” when she received the first payment of the Advance Child Tax Credit because it “helped pay bills”.
“I missed my paycheck the week I received it because my son was one of the children exposed to a positive (COVID-19) case at his school, so our whole family had to get on with it. in quarantine. So that really helped make ends meet for this week, “she said.
Last week, Santos also received her second child tax credit advance payment, which she says will be kept for “future emergencies.”
“I am very grateful that the advance child tax credit came out when it did, especially given our situation,” she said.
Santos said she was fired from her job due to the pandemic. When she lost her job, her husband, who is “medically compromised”, had to work to help pay for utilities and rent.
They have a child. They also take care of her elderly father at home.
“The money from PUA recently ended and my family was saved because we are now both employees. It is not as much as I got from PUA, but it is enough to keep us stable for the future. the moment, ”she said.
Despite the hardships, Santos said she believes her family is still blessed. Some of her former colleagues have been unlucky in finding new jobs, she said.
Child tax credit advance payments are part of the US bailout, which passed in March. The ARP also increased the credit for one year. For the 2021 tax year, the credits are up to $ 3,600 for each child under the age of 6 and up to $ 3,000 for each child between the ages of 6 and 17. This is an increase from the previous $ 2,000 per child.
DRT began payments in September, and while many in Guam have already received their initial payments, other families continue to wait for theirs.