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Association between Child Tax Credit advance payments and food insufficiency in households experiencing economic shocks

Abstract:

The COVID-19 pandemic brought increases in economic shocks due to poor health and lost employment, which reduced economic well-being, especially in households with children. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments to include eligibility for the lowest income households, boosted benefit levels, and provided monthly advance payments to households with children. Using Census Household Pulse Survey respondent data from January 2021 to July 2022, we evaluated the association between these advance CTC monthly payments and food insufficiency among households with children experiencing health- or employment-related economic shocks (defined as missed work due to COVID-19/other illness or COVID-19–related employer closure/layoff/furlough). Using a triple difference design, we found that the advance CTC was associated with greater reductions in food insufficiency among households with children experiencing economic shocks both compared with households without children and with households with children not experiencing economic shocks. Permanently expanding the advance CTC could create resilience to economic shocks during disease outbreaks, climate disasters, and recessions.