An additional $ 300 a month gives Columbus mother Carnitra Cannon-Tillman a little breathing space.

The 40-year-old was fired from her job at Aflac during the COVID-19 pandemic, which reduced her household to one income. Her two-year-old daughter Cairo Tillman has a speech delay and is in therapy twice a week. Some of the extra money the family receives from the extended child tax credit will be used to buy books and support their little girl.

“It can be costly just to try to build your language, to build things up academically,” Cannon-Tillman said. “It was very helpful for us to have this little cushion.”

Cannon-Tillman was among a handful of parents who briefed U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) on the importance of the expanded tax credit for children during a round table discussion in Columbus on Tuesday. The expanded tax credit was passed under the American Rescue Plan, the $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package signed into law by President Joe Biden earlier this year.

The American Rescue Plan provides families with tax credits of up to $ 3,000 for each child aged six to 17 and up to $ 3,600 for children under six. Families get full credit when they earn up to $ 150,000 for a couple, $ 112,500 for a single parent family, or $ 75,000 for other applicants, according to the White House.

For eligible households, half of the money will come in the form of direct payments every month until the end of 2021. The other half will be claimed when filing a 2021 income tax return. Each monthly payment is up to $ 300 for each child under the age of six and up to $ 250 per month for each child ages six to 17.

The first child tax credits were paid to households in July, and households in Georgia received approximately $ 520.3 million. The average monthly payment was $ 418, according to the Treasury Department.

In Muscogee County, the legislation affects an estimated 13,800 households and 45,000 children. The average loan amount is $ 3,300, Warnock’s office said, citing methodology from Co-Equal, a data analytics group that supports congressional bureaus.

Cannon-Tillman wasn’t the only parent discussing the importance of the extended tax credit.

Dante Dowdell and Alicia Taylor said the first monthly payment helped cover the cost of school clothes and extracurricular activities for their 10-year-old daughter London Taylor. The fifth grader will soon start playing basketball, and London presented Warnock with a painting as a thank you.

For local hairdresser Will Godfrey, the payment helped fund karate-related expenses for his daughter Birdie. The twelve-year-old is a second degree black belt and junior teacher. The family was able to use the money to finance some additional tournament trips.

“These tournaments are very expensive,” he said. “It made a huge difference.”

Warnock told the interviewees that he would work to ensure that the extended child allowance becomes permanent.

“We can’t often pass laws that are so transformative to ordinary people,” he said. “Experts say this will cut child poverty in half. I don’t think you can cut child poverty in half in a year and then go back and double it the following year. This is bad public order and it creates uncertainty in such people’s household budgets. “

The Round Table Talk was Warnock’s first event on Tuesday in Columbus. He was also a guest speaker at the United Negro College Fund’s kickoff lunch event at the Green Island Country Club.

Warnock, a graduate of Morehouse College, spoke for about 25 minutes during the event. He praised the achievements of historically black colleges and universities, discussed the importance of voting rights, and spoke about the infrastructure bill awaiting approval in the US House of Representatives.

Warnock is running for Senate re-election in 2022. Several Republicans, including former Heisman trophy winner and University of Georgia football star Herschel Walker, want to oust Warnock.

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with The Telegraph.