CHICAGO - President Joe Biden said Monday his new "Cash for Kids" program will start sending money to families on July 15th.
Up to 39 million households are eligible. But they each must file a federal tax return to qualify, even if they not owe any taxes.
Families will receive $300 a month for children up to age six, and $250 a month for youngsters up to age 17.
"So, if you're a working family with two kids," the president said, "you're gonna get $500 a month into your bank account."
The program is currently set to run from July through December.
Former Obama administration education secretary Arne Duncan is a big fan of direct payments to poor and working poor households. He said that, during a similar program in California, the largest category of purchases with the government dollars was food.
It also defrayed housing costs, Duncan said, "to give them a chance to pay rent, to have a roof over their heads, very importantly feed their children, have child care if they're trying to get back to work."
Indeed, more full-time work is the focus of conservative critics. Ted Dabrowski of Wirepoints said the direct payments to families is less efficient.
"Jobs is the way to do it," Dabrowski said. "People need meaning in their lives. And we've already seen that all these subsidies to workers right now is keeping them from going back to work. Many companies, they can't hire people right now."
President Biden predicted Monday that "Cash for Kids" would cut childhood poverty in half this year.