MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Millions of families will be able to access a new round of federal funds starting Thursday.  The American Rescue Plan that Congress passed in March boosts the child tax credit.

Memphis real estate agent Evelyn Mitchell Irby saw business drop dramatically when the pandemic started, then life-changing news hit the mother of two.

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“I’ve been battling Lupus since 2017 and I had breast cancer surgery February 25th. So, that was a huge undertaking, just taking the time off and the recuperation,” she says.

She had to stop working for months of recovery and the bills piled up. But now Mitchell Irby and millions of other parents are getting some extra money from the government.

The child tax credit is up from $2000 to $3,600 for kids under six, and $3,000 for children six to 17 years old.

Half the money will be paid out over six months (July – December). Parents will have to claim the rest on their tax returns.

Families have to make under a certain amount to qualify. For a married couple filing jointly that’s $150,000 or less, and under $75,000 for single filers.

The IRS will send out money based on last year’s tax return. So, people who started making more money this year and no longer qualify for the credit need to go to IRS.gov and opt out.

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CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger said, “Because if you get it and you don’t qualify, you have pay back that money to Uncle Sam next tax season.”

Mitchell Irby is now cancer free and working again, but the extra money is welcome after months of lost wages.

“Everything has increased, so at least being able to put a dent in those bills will be great,” she says.

Families that make no income will also receive the credit.

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CLICK HERE to go to the IRS Child Credit Portal for more information.

CBSMiami.com Team