Need Legal Aid Help? Get Started

What Should I Know About Advance Child Tax Credit Payments?

What are advance Child Tax Credit payments?

Advance Child Tax Credit payments are early payments from the IRS of 50% of the estimated amount of the Child Tax Credit that you may claim on your 2021 tax return during the 2022 tax filing season.

For tax year 2021, the Child Tax Credit has increased from $2,000 per qualifying child to:

  • $3,600 for children ages 5 and under at the end of 2021; and
  • $3,000 for children ages 6 through 17 at the end of 2021.

Do I need income to be eligible for advance Child Tax Credit payments?

  • Even if you have $0 in income, you can receive advance Child Tax Credit payments if you are eligible.

Who is to receive advance Child Tax Credit payments?

A parent qualifies to receive an advance Child Tax Credit if they have a qualifying child. You or your spouse, if married and filling a joint tax return, must have a main home in one of the 50 U.S. states or the District of Columbia and must live there for more than half a year.

You or your spouse, if married and filling a joint tax return, must have a Social Security number or an IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Each qualifying child must have a Social Security number administered by the Social Security Administration before the due date of your 2021 tax return.

Who is a qualifying child for the 2021 Child Tax Credit?

Any individual that does not turn 18 before January 1, 2022 and who meets all of the following criteria:

  1. The individual is the taxpayer’s son, daughter, stepchild, or an eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepsibling, half-sibling, or a descendant of any of them (ex. grandchild, niece, or nephew);
  2. Individual does not provide more than half of their own support during 2021;
  3. Individual lives with taxpayer for more than half of the tax year of 2021;
  4. Individual is properly claimed as the taxpayer’s dependent;
  5. Individual does not file a joint return with the individual’s spouse for 2021 tax year. If filed, it is only for the purpose of claiming a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid; and
  6. Individual is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or a U.S. resident alien.

How will I know I am eligible?

You can visit the Advance Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant and find out if you are eligible.

If you and your child meet the above-mentioned criteria and you have filed your 2020 or 2019 tax returns or have completed the Non-Filer online form on, you will automatically become eligible for the Child Tax Credit and receive payment without further action.

If you have not filed your taxes for 2020 or 2019, you must visit the Non-Filer tool which allows you to file a simplified tax return for 2020. This form will allow you to register for advance Child Tax Credit.

When will I start receiving payments?

The IRS will begin sending advance Child Tax Credit payments on July 15, 2021, which will then continue monthly through December 2021.

How will I start receiving payments?

Your payments will be sent the same way you receive your tax refunds, by mail or direct deposit to your bank account. The IRS has created a Child Tax Credit Update Portal to help families receiving payments.  You can update your bank information and set up direct deposit payments through that portal. You can also update other information on the portal like your address and check your eligibility.

Visit the Child Tax Credit Update Portal for more information.

If there is a problem with my payments, what can I do?

If a payment has been issued, but you have not received it, you can request a payment trace.  A trace will  track your payment if you have not received it within the timeframes below.

  • 5 days since the deposit date and the bank says it hasn't received the payment
  • 4 weeks since the payment was mailed by check to a standard address
  • 6 weeks since the payment was mailed, and you have a forwarding address on file with the local post office
  • 9 weeks since the payment was mailed, and you have a foreign address

To start a payment trace, mail or fax a completed Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund 

If you are having other issues, you can call the IRS:  Make sure that you have the identify verification information listed on that page.

Will getting the Child Tax Credit affect my eligibility for benefits like SNAP, Medicaid, cash assistance, or Social Security?

No. The Child Tax Credit will not count as income for the purposes of public benefits. If you still have those funds saved after more than 12 months, however, they could count as a resource.

Where can I learn more about Child Tax Credit?

The 2021 Child Tax and Advance Child Tax Credit page on provides additional answers to frequently asked questions. The IRS also provides a comprehensive list of resources and guidance for the 2021 Advance Child Tax Credit on this page. The information from the IRS is available in languages including English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Haitian-Creole, Russian, and Vietnamese. The IRS advises that all of the information about the Advance Child Tax credit available is online, and that phone assistors don't have information beyond what's available on

This flyer from the Cuyahoga EITC Coalition also provides more helpful information.

For information about how the child tax credit impacts mixed-immigration status families, see the website for The Center for Law and Social Policy.  The material is available in both English and Spanish.


Quick Exit