About 78% of Hispanic families received stimulus payments over the last year and a half, compared with 96% of white respondents, according to a recent study conducted by Ipsos and a group of social policy organizations including the National Women’s Law Center.
There was also a gap in claiming the child tax credit. About 75% of Hispanic families took the credit in 2019 or 2020 — the years generally used by the IRS to determine who gets the new enhanced benefit and monthly payments — while 84% of white families got it, according to the survey.
That means Hispanic families may have been less likely to automatically receive the payments that began in July and would have to take extra steps to sign up for the benefit with the IRS.
“We noticed a couple of times throughout the survey that the Hispanic community seem to be more unplugged from the tax system when compared to respondents of other races,” said Ashley Burnside, a policy analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy, which also worked on the study.
The survey didn’t specifically ask why respondents either didn’t claim the previous child tax credit or hadn’t gotten stimulus payments, but there could be many reasons that the Hispanic community fell behind.
There may be a language barrier, said Burnside. There may also have been hesitancy in the community to access or enroll in government programs, especially after anti-immigrant rhetoric from the Trump administration, she said.
In addition, children using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers available for certain nonresidents were previously excluded from the child tax credit, something Democrats are looking to change in future iterations of the benefit.
Still time to sign up
Going forward, making sure that all families receive the benefits they are eligible for will be important. There is still time to sign up for advance child tax credit payments and claim stimulus checks, and 55% of Hispanics said they knew about the IRS sign-up portals, more than other respondents, the survey showed.
“The IRS portals are definitely open through October,” said Amy Matsui, director of income security and senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center. In addition, the IRS and the Treasury Department along with Code for America have launched a new sign-up tool that includes instructions in Spanish and is mobile accessible — the survey showed that many families access the internet via a cell phone instead of a computer or other device.
The survey polled 1,031 households with children under 18 and incomes below $150,000 — meaning they were eligible for the child tax credit and other benefits — in the first two weeks of July. The results reflect a period before advance payments of the child tax credit began to go out to millions of households.
The Center for the Study of Social Policy, the Children’s Defense Fund, Prosperity Now, the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and the University of California, Berkeley, also worked on the study.