Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Child tax credit payments for September are missing for some

A stimulus check issued by the IRS is shown on April 23, 2020. Many families have not received their child tax credit checks for September.  (Associated Press )
By Susan Tompor Detroit Free Press

Shavaun Tringali has continued to wait six days after the scheduled Sept. 15 payout for some answers involving her missing $250 child tax credit.

The Roseville, Michigan, mother hopes to see the monthly payment soon. But she has absolutely no idea what went wrong and if or when the money will get there.

Tringali, 38, received the July advance payment by check in the mail for her 15-year-old daughter Chloe Fink.

She later went online, as the Internal Revenue Service suggested, to update her bank account information to receive the future payments by direct deposit.

And that money was deposited into her bank account in August. All good.

As for September? Nothing. Zip. Nada.

“This one, I guess it’s in thin air,” she said.

Tringali and husband Markus Tringali are just getting their finances back together after going through several months of unemployment once the pandemic hit in 2020 and many businesses shut down.

He works for an automotive supplier; she works as a lab assistant at a urology practice in St. Clair Shores.

It took three months, she said, before they received any unemployment compensation last year so they already were behind on their bills once the unemployment money first arrived.

Now, they could use this child tax credit money to help cover their daughter’s school expenses.

They also just bought a car so the extra money that they qualify to get based on their income would help their overall budget.

“It’s a pretty messed up situation,” Tringali said.

Where’s the money?No resolution appeared in sight for many upset families who still didn’t know what happened to their child tax credit money as of Tuesday.

Frustrated families noted that back-to-school expenses – including clothing and sports fees – were back in full swing but the money that was supposed to help was no where to be found.

One 47-year-old father of three was trying to figure out what happened to the $500 he was expecting.

He was unable to get any information by looking at the IRS portal online.

He called the Internal Revenue Service and sat on hold once for 45 minutes, talked with someone eventually but still didn’t have a clue what went wrong with the scheduled September payment.

The North Carolina family received a $500 check by mail for their two children in July.

One older son turns 18 this month and does not get advance money for the credit.

They received $500 in August by direct deposit, after the father provided bank account information using an IRS tool online.

Now, “nothing,” the father said.

“I can budget around it when you know it’s not going to be there,” he told me by phone.

“You told me it’s going to be there – and it’s not there.”

The man asked that his name not be used because he did not want clients to know about his financial situation.

He said the family lives on one paycheck.

His wife is an unpaid caregiver for her mother who had a stroke and home schools the children.

He’s upset that the IRS has not explained the extent of the problem that’s hitting many families – or given a timeline for when people might expect the advance payment of the child tax credit.

“Just say, ‘We screwed up but your money will be in your account by the 25th,’ ” he said.

Child tax credit cash is significantThe advance monthly payments, which officially began in July, are not small sums of money for many families.

Many could be looking at an extra $450 a month or more, depending on the size of the family and the ages of the children.

Millions of eligible families are receiving up to $300 per month for each qualifying child ages 5 and younger and up to $250 per month for children ages 6 to 17.

The monthly payouts run from July through December.

Roughly 39 million households – covering 88% of children in the U.S. – were slated to begin receiving monthly payments starting in July without any further action required, according to an earlier IRS statement.

The credit was expanded as part of the American Rescue Plan, which became law in March.

As for the latest glitch? The IRS has not shared many details.

Late Sept. 17, the IRS offered a statement to the Free Press: “We are aware of instances where some individuals have not yet received their September payments, although they received payments in July and August.”

The IRS continued: “These individuals may not yet be able to receive a current status on the Update Portal.

“The IRS is currently looking into this situation, and we will share more information as soon as possible.”

The IRS did not detail what went wrong or state how many people still did not receive their September payment as expected. No further information has been provided.

As of Sept. 17, the IRS said it successfully delivered the “third monthly round of approximately 35 million Child Tax Credits with a total value of about $15 billion.”

While it’s good that so many families have received the credit money in advance and they received it on time, it’s also essential to report on the mistakes and slip-ups along the way.

So many families told me that they don’t feel like they’re being heard and they expressed concern that, perhaps, their situations would drag on even longer if the mix-ups weren’t made public.

The next monthly payments are scheduled for Oct. 15, Nov. 15 and Dec. 15.

Families who don’t receive all the money they’re eligible to get in 2021 will be able to claim the credit when they file their 2021 federal income tax return next year.

But again, waiting months for the money doesn’t help cover bills that built up during the pandemic.

Some families say the monthly advance payments have been helpful in covering costs like gas, utilities and food – and they’d rather not wait another six months or so to get their money.

Contact Susan Tompor via