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Why so many Americans continue to struggle despite the pandemic lifeline: NPR

Laura Schiffentes lives in Rosedale, Mississippi. The government’s child tax deduction was paid monthly to many American parents with children when they had to give up their jobs to take care of their children, nieces and nephews during the pandemic.

Stephen Bisaha / Gulf State News Room / Stephen Bisaha / Gulf State News Room


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Laura Schiffentes lives in Rosedale, Mississippi. The government’s child tax deduction was paid monthly to many American parents with children when they had to give up their jobs to take care of their children, nieces and nephews during the pandemic.

Stephen Bisaha / Gulf State News Room / Stephen Bisaha / Gulf State News Room

Tupelo’s St. Luke’s Food Pantry still takes more than an hour to open, but there are already more than 12 cars lined up in this corner of the country’s poorest state in northeastern Mississippi. increase.

By the time volunteers start distributing food this December morning, six rows of cars will fill the parcels and dozens more will be parked on the road waiting for admission. By noon, the pantry will serve 559 cars.

Volunteer Lee Stratton says this is happening virtually every day during the pandemic.

“A lot of people are coming,” says Stratton. “People need help, do you know?”

During the pandemic, government support has sent trillions of dollars to businesses and Americans across the country. This includes strengthening food stamps and monthly payments to many families with children.

For many families, it was a substantial economic lifeline that helped them put more food on the table, buy more necessities, and pay off their debts.

Still, scenes like the Saint Luke’s Food Pantry scene, despite government support, continue to require help from struggling Americans, especially when inflation soars to its highest level in about 40 years. Is shown.

Take Faith Spearman, one of the people waiting for food in the pantry.

Spearman says he’s feeling better than before the pandemic. This is mainly due to increased benefits from supplemental nutrition support programs, more commonly known as SNAP, last year.

With the increase in SNAP, one of the most widely used federal welfare programs, sons are now able to buy their favorite juices.

“Just seeing him smile and know,’Hey, my mom got me this in the store. This is what I really wanted.’ It makes me feel better.” Told.

Still, she doesn’t earn enough money for her family to cover a month’s worth of groceries with a $ 10.75 / hour job from home on DirecTV’s customer service line.

Cars are lined up to receive food and supplies at the St. Luke’s Food Pantry in Tupelo, Mississippi, December 2, 2021.

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Cars are lined up to receive food and supplies at the St. Luke’s Food Pantry in Tupelo, Mississippi, December 2, 2021.

Stephen Bisaha / Gulf State News Room / Stephen Bisaha / Gulf State News Room

Economic step forward – and two steps back

In the long run, experts say financial support, such as strengthening food stamps, can help improve lives.

However, as Omicron variants continue to spread across the country, the pandemic is still ongoing, and families find that help is often not yet sufficient.

Aisha Nyandro, CEO of Springboard to Opportunities, said: Jackson’s affordable housing.

Sometimes it even has unintended consequences.

The increase in SNAP announced in October was seen as the cause of many supporters’ celebrations in the fight against hunger.Marked for the first time Purchasing power Plans have actually increased since 1975. Previous increases to the program were made solely to catch up with inflation.

However, the number of people they receive from the program depends on how much they earn, and some families will see their profits diminish this year.

Experts call this a cliff of profit — when someone in welfare begins to make more money, the loss of government aid caused can actually make him financially worse. I have.

Among the people in that category is Miss Guntown’s Ashanti Mandy.

McDonald’s raised wages to $ 11 an hour this year. This is a welcome result of the tight labor market in this country.

However, with the exact same additional payment, her SNAP benefits were reduced. In short, Mandy took an economic step, but then had to take another step or two.

“It helps,” Mandy said of the benefits of SNAP. “Don’t get me wrong, it helps, but overall, it still keeps you [stagnant].. ”

President Biden signed the US Rescue Program on March 11, 2021 at the White House’s Oval Office in Washington, DC. The bill was one of several legislation passed by Congress to assist Americans during a pandemic.

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President Biden signed the US Rescue Program on March 11, 2021 at the White House’s Oval Office in Washington, DC. The bill was one of several legislation passed by Congress to assist Americans during a pandemic.

Mandelungan via Getty Images / AFP

Child tax credit is stuck

Another program that has received much praise from poverty advocates is the child tax credit. This was the initiative of the Biden administration. approved By Congress as part of the March American Rescue Program.

In July, the program began monthly payments to families based on the number and age of children. $ 300 / month for children under 6 years old and $ 250 / month for each child under 18 years old. Parents also have an additional lump sum payment. When they file tax returns this year.

Columbia University’s Center for Poverty and Social Policy recognizes child tax credits as the main reason why poverty rates in the United States fell by 2 percent points from June to July, or shortly after the first payments began.

Nyandoro, CEO of Charity Springboard to Opportunity, recalls the excitement of his mother, who was planning to receive a child tax credit.

“She talked about how this was the first time … they were preparing to go back to school, so she could take her kid to the store to choose a backpack.” Recalled Nyandoro.

However, the program expired at the end of the year and has not been updated. The Democrats want to get it back this year, Senator Joe Manchin disagrees It is the current version of the program and would like to add work requirements and income caps to get his support.

Laura Schiffentes, Losdale, Mississippi, To tell Child tax credits help her importantly after the school was virtualized and she had to take care of her child, after a pandemic forced her to quit her job in a local headstart program. Provided.

Monthly payments allow you to pay for your daughter’s National Honor Society registration fee and new clothes for a growing boy.

“It’s a big help because we can do more for our kids,” she said.

But even with the payment, she still had to monitor what she spent. And now that she’s out of payment, she needs to be more careful when looking for a job. This could be a good match for the previous $ 12 hourly job.

“The CTC has been blessed,” Sifuentes recalled, recalling how child tax credits helped her family. “But now I have to be smarter about how to shop.”

Why so many Americans continue to struggle despite the pandemic lifeline: NPR

Source link Why so many Americans continue to struggle despite the pandemic lifeline: NPR

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