The expiration of child tax credits that were put in place to help families during the COVID-19 pandemic is causing more parents and households to make tough choices, including skipping meals, giving up medical insurance and not paying medical bills, and using money saved for rainy days or emergencies to cover their expenses, according to the results of a recently released survey.
The survey, which polled 500 parents, found that 92% of them are finding it harder to make ends meet now that the child tax credits have expired and inflation is causing gas and food prices to rise. Ninety-six percent of participants said they are seeing the most impact from rising prices on their food bills, while 93% said gasoline price increases were hurting them the most. Nearly 50% of respondents said they can no longer afford to feed their families, while more than one-quarter of participants said they could no longer afford their rent or mortgage. Sixteen percent of respondents said they could not afford medical insurance, medical bills, or medication.
For families where food affordability has become an issue, nearly half of parents say they have skipped meals so their kids can eat, and 65% have had to cut back on buying fruits and vegetables because they are too expensive.
Congress was considering an extension of the child tax credits into 2022, but that plan died when President Biden’s Build Back Better economic plan failed to gain enough support to be enacted.
Information like the data in this survey can be helpful for collectors engaging in conversations with individuals who are pinching pennies and fighting harder to make ends meet. Often, bills like old debts are among the first that consumers stop repaying when times get tough. Keeping individuals on payment plans and working with them during troubled times can help ensure that debts are repaid when people get back on their feet.