In the Frontline documentary “Growing Up Poor in America,” 13-year old Ohioan Shawn and his mother and baby sister were subsisting on $885 a month in benefits during the early days of the pandemic—half in food stamps and half in rent assistance for their trailer. Shawn’s mother had been diagnosed with kidney disease, yet still had to risk exposing herself to COVID-19 by “working off” hours required to receive her benefits at the local Salvation Army.

The Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is a complex legislative prescription for the economic hardship COVID-19 has inflicted on families like Shawn’s. The plan aims to affect a massive economic recovery by putting more money into the hands of more Americans in need. It provides:

• A one-time, $1,400 per person/$2,800 per couple economic impact payment (with an added $1,400 for each dependent)

• A 25-week extension of the enhanced unemployment benefits, providing an added $300/week

• An expanded tax credit worth up to $3,600 for every child under age 6, and $3,000 for children between 6 and 17, to be paid out over the course of 2021

• Increases in both SNAP and WIC benefits to enable more household food purchases

• Greater ease in accessing EBT funds for school-age children during public health emergencies

These legislative provisions could have a profound impact on the landscape of American poverty, particularly child poverty, after more than a year of an unprecedented health crisis.

Read the full article about child poverty by Johnisha Levi at YES! Magazine.