Advance Child Tax Credit payments cut food insufficiency by 26%, study finds

Originally posted on United Press International.

Jan. 13 (UPI) — Advance Child Tax Credit payments, part of last year’s federal American Rescue Plan, reduced food insufficiency, or lack of food, in households across the country by 26%, a study published Thursday by JAMA Network Open found.

However, those gains are likely to be reversed because the federal relief package expired at the end of 2021, the researchers said.

An extension of the program was included in the Build Back Better Act, but Congress has failed to pass the bill.

“Not having enough food is just one dimension of poverty and hardship that families face, and hunger has significant costs to our health and society that are absolutely avoidable,” study co-author Paul Shafer said in a press release.

“Hopefully our work puts more pressure on policymakers to keep working and to find a package, incorporating the Child Tax Credit, that can pass,” said Shafer, assistant professor of health law, policy and management at Boston University School of Public Health.

Up to 45 million people in the United States experience food insecurity, or lack of access to needed food, based on recent estimates.

Food insufficiency is a formal measure of hunger defined as conditions in which a household lacks enough food to eat, according to the Food Research and Action Center, a non-profit research and advocacy organization that focuses on hunger and under-nutrition.