Those who got their money were elated, with many people posting on TikTok to chronicle their excitement. One TikTok user wrote, “Got my 1st child tax credit payment. Biden paying more child support than my baby daddy.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) asked her nearly 13 million Twitter followers, “Who’s gotten their CTC today? How is it going to help you out?” One Phoenix follower said the $250 payment went to help pay part of a $400 bill to the utility company SRP. “Normally we’re choosing between food and the SRP bill — not this month thanks to Democrats!”
But many parents are also emailing journalists or taking to Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit to complain or ask why they haven’t received their payments yet. Some didn’t get as much as they thought they were due, while others don’t have a clue as to why the payments haven’t been deposited into their bank accounts.
One South Carolina mother reached out to The Washington Post upset that she did get the advance child tax credit payments for her two children aged 9 and 10 — $500 — but not for her 17-year-old.
Had Treasury and the IRS communicated better about the age cutoff, she wouldn’t have been worried. While it’s true that the payment is available for some 17-year-olds, it’s not available if the child will turn 18 this year.
“Oh, okay,” the relieved mother said when I called to interview her.
This is what happened to Courtney Bendickson from Colorado Springs. She and her husband did everything they are supposed to do to get the direct deposit payments for their two children, who are ages 10 and 11. They filed a 2020 return, which has been processed. The first round of monthly payments was based on returns processed by the IRS — not just filed — by June 28. They provided the IRS with banking information. And they know the tax agency has what it needs to make a direct deposit because the couple received all three of the stimulus payments electronically.
But the July 15 pay date came and went and the $500 payment that was supposed to hit their bank account didn’t show up.
Bendickson said she called her bank and was told there is no pending payment from the IRS. She used the Child Tax Credit Update Portal to double-check, and got the message that nothing was pending. She even tried to call the IRS several times and was disconnected before reaching anyone.
“There are so many people in the same situation that I am, and that’s really unfortunate,” she said. “It is frustrating.”
Bendickson said they could really use the money. Her husband was furloughed twice last year.
“It was rough,” she said. “He was on unemployment for a while.”
Things are okay now, but the money would take some financial pressure off, she said.
“With the kids going back to school, being able to buy supplies and clothes and all those things, it just would be really helpful,” she said, sounding exasperated. “I just don’t know what’s going on. You know, if the IRS had a glitch and they were able to come out and say, ‘Yeah, there’s a glitch and we’re working on it,’ then at that point all you do is wait. For me, I just want to know why.”
The IRS says if, after five calendar days from the official pay date an electronic payment hasn’t shown up — and the bank says it hasn’t received the payment — mail or fax payment trace Form 3911 “Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund.” You need to wait four weeks for a mailed check. Wait six weeks to request a trace if a payment was mailed and you have a forwarding address on file with the post office.
“Many different factors come into play for the eligibility of these payments,” the IRS said in a statement. “We continue to work on this important credit, and we will be closely monitoring the program as we move forward.”
The IRS has not reported any widespread problems at this point, which is also distressing for Lisa McGruder from Pontiac, Ill., who doesn’t understand why she too hasn’t received the first advance payment. The McGruder family is eligible for $750 a month for three children, who are 7, 8, and 10. McGruder is collecting unemployment. Her husband is waiting on disability payments to kick in after being diagnosed with cancer.
The McGruders filed their 2020 tax return and didn’t have a problem receiving their refund or all three stimulus payments.
“Got the letter in the mail from the IRS saying we were eligible for the child tax credit, so we were thinking it’s a slam dunk,” McGruder said.
Unlike many others, McGruder was able to reach someone at the IRS.
“The person gave me very vague answers,” she said. “We had planned our budget around the monthly payments. You get that hope built up and then it gets dashed.”
Given the hard times they’ve had because of the pandemic and her husband’s health issues, McGruder said she had planned to use a small part of the money to treat her 7-year-old daughter to a mermaid tail for swimming.
“The kids are getting excited about getting school clothes. And then you sit there thinking, well, now what am I supposed to do? I don’t make enough each week to pay for all of this,” she said. “I just felt like a failure as a mom, just devastated. Then you just pick yourself up and it’s like, what can you do about it? The IRS is going to do what they do, right?”