More than 30 million people have lost their jobs since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and millions of children could fall into poverty if Congress fails to meet this unprecedented challenge. Without robust federal support, one study estimates that child poverty could balloon from an already shameful 13.6 percent to nearly 21 percent, with Black and Latino children bearing a disproportionate risk of falling into or deeper into poverty.
So far, the federal response has been inadequate. In March, Congress provided families with one-time direct cash payments of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child to households meeting certain income and citizenship requirements, but that money isn’t sufficient to sustain millions of cash-strapped families scrambling to meet their recurring obligations—rent, groceries, utilities, health care, and much more.
Right now, children and their families need cash quickly and they need it now.
- $2,000 per month for adults and children;
- Paid out monthly until the economic crisis subsides; and
- Available to everyone in need, especially low-income families, underbanked communities, and those who did not qualify for the first round of payments through the CARES Act
It’s crucial that any additional cash assistance provided by Congress treat adults and children equally. The payment disparity between adults and children built into the cash payments issued by Congress led to the unjust outcome that a two-adult household with no children received more money ($2,400) than a single parent with two children ($2,200). We know that single parents, especially single mothers of color, are already more likely to live in poverty and experience economic insecurity. During this pandemic, parents need more support as they deal with not only the high cost of raising children but also the additional pressure to act as breadwinners, caregivers, playmates, and educators for their children all at the same time.
These payments also need to continue until the economic downturn ends and include the many groups that were excluded from payments under the CARES Act, including immigrant workers and their families (both ITIN filers and mixed-status households), dependent children over the age of 16, older youth claimed as dependents by their parents and children living with kinship caregivers outside the formal child welfare system.
For more information on our cash assistance proposal, download our fact sheet here.