The Build Back Better Act, the massive $1.75 trillion social spending package working its way through the House of Representatives, contains a provision that would remove the Social Security number requirement for the Child Tax Credit.
The provision, which can be found on page 1,647 of the 2,135-page bill, would amend the federal tax code by removing the provision which requires that a child have a valid Social Security number in order to be eligible for any and all tax credits.
“No credit shall be allowed under this section to a taxpayer with respect to any qualifying child unless the taxpayer includes the social security number of such child on the return of tax for the taxable year,” the current law reads. Removing this requirement would open the eligibility for the credit to parents of children without social security numbers, including, potentially, illegal immigrant children.
The provision could cost American taxpayers $2.3 billion in payouts to parents of children who immigrated illegally to the U.S., and another 8.2 billion to illegal immigrant parents who had children inside the U.S., according to Steven Camarota, a researcher for the Center for Immigration Studies.
“Illegal immigrants are able to receive benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children,” Camarota told Fox News. “But the permanent elimination of the SSN requirement means that even illegal immigrants whose children are also illegally in the country can receive cash payments, including the roughly 600,000 unaccompanied minors and persons in family units stopped at the border in FY2021 and released.”
In addition to the social security number requirement, the bill also eliminates the work requirement for next year, which would make payments to illegal immigrants much easier, Camarota noted. “In the past, some illegal immigrants who worked off the books sometimes had trouble demonstrating employment income, but now that won’t be a problem,” he said.
The Biden administration increased the minimum payouts from the child tax credit, under the American Rescue Plan, from $2,000 to $3,600 for children under 6 and $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17. Families are eligible to receive the full payout if they earn up to $150,000 in annual income per couple, or $112,500 per single-parent household, per Fox News. The new provision would extend those payments through 2022.
However, recent financial reports by two separate groups point out that the child tax credit ends arbitrarily, and that extending those credits or making them permanent would significantly increase the cost of the legislation.
The US Chamber of Commerce noted in a letter to members of Congress, as reported by the Daily Wire, that the true cost of the plan should factor in the extensions that would inevitably be added to the bill. “Given that the bill’s proponents clearly intend for these programs to continue past their sunset, lawmakers should be provided with a Congressional Budget Office estimate of the true cost of the bill if these programs were permanent,” the Chamber said.
According to Wharton School of Business experts cited by the Chamber of Commerce, the cost of the Child and Earned Income Tax Credits is estimated at $170 billion, but extending those programs permanently would cost nearly $2 trillion dollars. A report by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that permanent extensions to those credits would cost around $1.3 trillion dollars.