REGION – This year, the Earned Income Tax Credit can help working families in Vermont make ends meet with a credit up to $6,557. In addition, any family with dependent children who receives the Vermont EITC is automatically income-eligible for food benefits through 3SquaresVT – meaning their income and resources don’t count. Jan. 31 is EITC Awareness Day, a time to spread the word to the estimated one in five Vermonters who miss out on thousands of dollars in savings and added benefits because they are unaware of EITC or its link to 3SquaresVT.
“Many Vermonters will receive the EITC this year but they may not know it, and they may not know how the EITC can connect them to other programs that can help them save money,” says Anore Horton, executive director at Hunger Free Vermont. “Receiving EITC makes it possible for many families to access 3SquaresVT who wouldn’t have otherwise been eligible. This helps families save money and put more healthy food on the table.”
The average monthly 3SquaresVT benefit is over $300 for a working family with children. Additionally, children who receive a 3SquaresVT benefit amount also qualify for free school meals, which allows families more flexibility in their food budgets and helps strengthen school meal programs. Vermonters making under $55,952 should see if they qualify.
EITC is designed to encourage and reward work while reducing poverty, providing financial security for working families while also providing economic stimulus for the state. In 2019, 39,000 Vermonters received EITC, bringing over $77 million federal dollars into the state at an average credit of $1,979 per household. Nationally, EITC and 3SquaresVT lift millions of people out of poverty. Research indicates that children in EITC and 3SquaresVT households have better health and education outcomes as well.
“Call the IRS to see if you qualify for the EITC, even if you don’t usually file taxes,” Horton emphasizes. “And apply for 3SquaresVT. If you receive the EITC, you have also earned the additional benefits that come along with it.”
To find out if you qualify for the EITC, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 or visit the online tool www.irs.gov/Credits-&-Deductions/Individuals/Earned-Income-Tax-Credit/Use-the-EITC-Assistant. For help preparing your taxes for free, dial 2-1-1 to make an appointment in your community with a certified volunteer. For information about 3SquaresVT and school meals and to find out how much you could get, visit www.vermontfoodhelp.com or dial 2-1-1.