Make Work Pay for Workers Without Children in the Household by Expanding the EITC

Today, workers without children or children living in their household are eligible for an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) so meagre that it taxes them deeper into poverty. This category of worker includes non-custodial parents who can’t claim their child as a tax dependent and therefore receive this smaller EITC benefit, despite providing support to their child, young people employed in food service and retail, and people of color who face increased rates of employment discrimination and disproportionately work in jobs that pay low wages compared to their white counterparts. 

The American Rescue Plan Act would make workers eligible for the EITC beginning at age 19 and would remove the maximum age limit of 65 years old. The bill would also provide support for youth who face additional hardships, such as those who are homeless or transitioning from the foster care system, by expanding EITC eligibility for them starting at age 18. Under the proposed expansion, the maximum EITC for workers without children in the household would increase from $543 to $1,502. That difference is the price of a car repair, of one month’s rent, or of a laptop for school–all essential costs that could keep a young worker from falling into poverty or from facing eviction. Congress must pass this bill quickly to provide critical financial relief to workers who are paid low incomes during the economic crisis.