OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Monday marked a national day of action for upcoming child tax credit payments made possible by the American Rescue Plan.  

What You Need To Know

The Biden administration announced earlier this month that June 21 would be deemed Child Tax Credit Awareness Day this year.

Estefania Villadiego works at Disney’s Fantasy Land and was furloughed for four months, causing a significant financial hit for her family.

“To the point where we had to use our savings," she said. "And even more than that … things we couldn't afford."

She said the child tax credit will help her recover, especially since it’s being broken into monthly installments.

Payments are also increasing from $2,000 to $3,600 for those with kids under 6; or $3,000 for children 6-17.  

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto visited the Osceola Christian Ministry Center’s Salvation Army location to encourage families to be on the lookout for the advance monthly payments.

“No family that works full time should live in poverty, should live without knowing how to pay for their next meal,” Soto said.  

Capt. Ken Chapman, the Area Commander for the Salvation Army Orlando, who offered the congressman a tour of the facility, said, “This will take these families to another level — allow them to spend money on things that can increase the productivity of their family and the education, and all the opportunities for their children.” 

Soto said the payments will help 93.2% of children in Florida’s 9th congressional district, which includes central Orange County, Osceola County and northeastern Polk County.

“That’s 185,000 children — that is just a phenomenal, stunning number that shows that our kids are going to have food on their table, our kids are going to have a roof over their head, our kids are going to be taken care of,” said the Rev. Mary Lee Downey, who runs Hope Partnership, another non-profit that helps those in need out of Osceola County. 

Eligibility for the child tax credit payments is based on household income, and Villadiego said she and her husband, who work full time, definitely qualify.

“Sometimes we think only about (ourselves), like I only have one kid but I can’t imagine people that have more than one,” Villadiego said. 

In the next few weeks, the IRS website will allow anyone who is eligible for advance payments to see what they qualify for and will also allow people to unenroll from the advance payment program. Families can instead choose to receive a lump sum upon filing taxes, as they did before.