HOUSTON - If the proposed $1.9 billion relief bill is passed, a proposed increase to the child tax credit could give families a big boost, especially low-income families.
Democrats, in fact, want to make it permanent. Data shows it could pull 500,000 Texas children out of poverty.
Sjolander Gray and her eight-year-old son Victor are still smiling, despite a tough year.
"I lost my job at the end of January of last year, so for me, it's been stressful," said Gray.
The relief bill would increase the child tax credit from up to $2,000 dollars per child to up to $3,600 per child under age 6, and up to $3,000 per child up to age 17. Families would receive checks in installments starting in July.
"For me, it will help out a lot. It will help me to take care of him, because I'm also a single parent, to take care of him, fill his needs," said Gray.
"They're going to be able to buy groceries, they're going to be able to pay their rent. That money is going right into the local economy," said Patrick Bressette with the Children's Defense Fund.
The bill would expand eligibility to families that make so little money they don't even qualify for the current child tax credit or receive only partial credit.
"Those are people who are living in economic deprivation. They're not earning enough to keep consistent food on the table, they're often living in substandard housing," said Bresette.
Moving forward, Democrats want to make the increase permanent. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates doing so would pull nearly 10 million children in America above the poverty line.
"That's clothes, that is food for children, that's helping pay the rent. That really is an investment to give them chance to realize their full potential," said Chuck Marr with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
For Gray and her son Victor, it could mean up to $3,000 dollars a year.
"Put a little bit aside for maybe savings for him for later on for college. Because that's my main goal, is to save money for him," said Gray.
The third stimulus check is still in the relief bill as well.
It would be $1400 per person for individuals earning less than $75,000 a year and married couples earning up to $150,000.
You can earn up to $80,000, but your stimulus amount would decrease with higher earnings.
Parents would also receive $1,400 per child, including adult children, such as college students and those with permanent disabilities. That's a change from last year's stimulus checks.
The Omni Calculator can help you estimate how much your stimulus might be.