SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – The new year brings the End of the payment of the child tax credit Millions of American families received in the last 6 months.
While Congress is still debating a possible vote on the Build Back Better Plan, which could include an extension of increased child tax credits, the future of potential payments is highly uncertain.
The end of this federal aid program has hit one Sioux Falls family particularly hard.
Last Friday, January 14, would have been the next monthly child allowance payment for Morgan Lehman and her six children. But this year, those payments ended the same day her home was destroyed by fire.
“He said he smelled smoke and he came up here and there was a fire, so he yelled at his sister upstairs that there was a fire and ran outside,” Lehman said.
Her 15-year-old daughter was at home watching her sons, 9 and 4, when the fire broke out on Friday night. They all ran out of their home on the corner of 6th Street and Cliff Avenue in Sioux Falls and signaled traffic for anyone who could help.
“Three children, no socks, no shoes; They literally ran out of there in their pajama bottoms, no shirt, nothing,” Lehman said.
Lehman says she is grateful for the woman who stopped by and left the children and family dog waiting in her car while Lehman rushed to the scene. She’s also incredibly grateful they were all able to get out safely, especially since her father died in a house fire when Morgan was just 10 years old.
Still, Lehman faces the reality that the items her children left home with are pretty much the only things they can salvage from their badly damaged rental home.
“No insurance,” Lehman said. “I just have to replace everything.”
But she knows she can’t replace everything, especially the recently unwrapped Christmas presents that her kids were just beginning to enjoy.
“That arcade game was my favorite,” Lehman said. “You mentioned the child tax credit, that was a bonus this year. So last year I went out for Christmas and did more.”
It’s something she never got addicted to last year, but the money has definitely made a difference every month.
“It definitely helped at Christmas and I was paying extra for my car payment every month, that’s where it went [it] was to pay for it. It helped,” she said.
And while a payment this month would have come at just the right time to help with the overwhelming list of things she needs to help her family recover…
“The hardest thing right now is just having one place for me and my kids to go, that’s the dilemma right now,” Lehman said.
…she knows she will do whatever it takes to help her family get by on her own without the help of a monthly tax deposit in her account.
“I haven’t fully relied on that, so I’m going to find out, it’s what I’m doing,” Lehman said. “I only work when I need the money, I just do shifts.”
Lehmans works two jobs as a waiter and bartender in Sioux Falls and Crooks. She is currently working with housing assistance but has yet to find a new home for her family. A GoFundMe Account was set up to help the Lehman family recover from the fire.