Low-income people reported fewer symptoms of anxiety, depression after receiving expanded child tax credit

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A temporary boost to the child credit, which provided qualifying parents with $300 a month per child at the start of the pandemic, may have helped the symptoms depression and anxiety among low-income adults – with the greatest impact seen among families of color. , according to a new study.

The expansion was associated with a 1.7 percent reduction in depressive symptoms and a 3.4 percent reduction in anxiety-related symptoms among adults. having no income with children, although there is no change in the use of mental health care, said the authors of a published study. in this week’s Health Affairs.

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The mental health benefits appear to be even greater for black and Hispanic adults, who the researchers noted benefited more from the higher tax credit due to disparities in discrimination. -Race in the loss of work from epidemics and household wealth: They decreased by 2.3 percent. symptoms compared to white people.

“These results are important for Congress and state legislators to consider as they consider making the CTC and other similar taxes sustainable to support economically disadvantaged families, especially economic recovery from the pandemic continues and families that have been marginalized are still left behind.

The extension of the child loan, which took place through the American Rescue Plan in 2021 and ended that year, took the benefit of $ 2,000 per child to the family have general incomes, expanded eligibility to lower-income families, and raised the recommended amount to $3,000 for all children over 6, and $3,600 for children under 6.

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Although the payment was short, it could have reduced child poverty, helped parents cover urgent expenses, and reduced malnutrition. People who have earned paychecks are less likely to rely on pawn shops, payday loans and pawnshop loans compared to those who don’t qualify, according to the Brookings Institute.

“Our study adds to a small but growing body of work showing that CTC not only increases dietary diversity but also improves mental health among adults of childbearing age, particularly in “the most marginalized groups,” said the authors of the health study. “By reducing financial hardship, this policy can improve the environment in which financially disadvantaged children grow up.”

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Their study drew on data from the US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, which includes anonymous and anonymous information about respondents’ health symptoms, from April 2021 to of January 2022.

To be sure, a health study published in November said that “we found no evidence that the expansion of CTC has a significant short-term effect on measures of satisfaction with life, anxiety, and depressive symptoms among adult recipients,” which may be a result of the expansion. temporarily.

The authors of the study said this week that “studies used different measures of satisfaction and different depression and anxiety measures; used other analytical techniques; and had a smaller sample size than our study, which may explain the different findings.”


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