BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Another part of the American Relief Plan kicks into gear Thursday – child tax credit money will start being paid monthly to families across the U.S. to help with recovery from the pandemic.

It’s all part of the government’s continued efforts to support qualifying families impacted by COVID. If you filed tax returns for 2019 or 2020, or signed up to get a stimulus check, you’re automatically enrolled to get this money.

The coronavirus pandemic caught Kaitlyn Barham and her family off guard like so many families in our region. It caused her to change careers because her company was outsourced, losing childcare benefits. Now she pays for it outright.

“Life’s a little interesting right now with a big girl and a newborn, but it’s fun, it’s definitely fun,” Barham said. “Of course, that’s been a little bit of a struggle because most centers are limited capacity. Finding somewhere that could accommodate both of my girls has been kind of difficult and of course been an increase in pricing due to COVID.”

Now, the Barhams and other families who make up to $150,000 a year will start seeing monthly payments of $250 for children ages six to 17 and $300 for every child under six.

“It is temporary; however, it is something you can prepare and plan for over the next six months of this year,” Childcare Resources Executive Director Joan Wright said.

According to Wright, it’s important to be strategic about how you use this money – budgeting it toward your childcare needs.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail and this is temporary,” Wright said. “We don’t know if there’s going to be any continuation of this or if it’s going to be addressed later in the tax laws.”

Barham said their money is going directly to the new childcare expenses and she is grateful for the extra financial help.

“This tax credit will really help us out a little bit for providing extra funds to offset our out of pocket costs,” Barham said. “It’ll definitely help in that aspect of it.”

The money will come either through direct deposit or as a check in the mail. If your family earns too much to qualify for this program, Childcare Resources has additional help for you, too.