Each New Year brings us new opportunities to enhance our services to children, parents and families. I am especially looking forward to the opportunity to help families through collaboration with the Assets for Independence program (featured on page 1 in the January Child Support Report). This demonstration will help parents in the child support program by offering financial and literacy services, which can in turn help parents to obtain lasting employment and become regular providers of child support.
It’s tax season again, and another opportunity to promote the Earned Income Tax Credit program to our child support customers who are low- and middle-income workers. Lifting over 6.6 million people out of poverty last year, including 3.3 million children, the EITC program, run by the IRS, is one of the most effective anti-poverty tools for working families, and the Federal government’s largest cash-assistance program. Last year, more than 25 million people received nearly $58 billion in EITC.
As child support professionals, we have a responsibility to promote awareness about the EITC. (January 28 marked the fifth annual EITC Awareness Day.) We also can educate parents about the availability of other tax credits like the Child Tax Credit, another refundable tax credit that puts much needed income into the hands of working parents and families. Find more information on the expanded Tax Credit Outreach Campaign website or visit the EITC website to see if you or someone you know may be eligible.
We can do more to refer parents—both mothers and fathers—to other programs that provide needed assistance. For example, when a parent has a disability or otherwise may be eligible for Social Security title II benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), we can refer them to the Social Security Administration. For more information about title II benefits and SSI benefits, see www.ssa.gov.
My best wishes to all for a happy New Year filled with opportunities to help children and families.