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Extra Credit Grants offer help for struggling families

Since schools closed their doors in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, parents across the state have had to make adjustments to their monthly and annual budgets to account for the unexpected expenses of childcare. Now, thanks to state coronavirus relief funding, parents may receive assistance in the amount of $335 through “Extra Credit Grants” included in the legislation. For many local families, the funds will come at a time when budgets are stretched.

“Families that have been budgeting might know that they need childcare during the summer, and they budget that in,” said Ashley Padgett, director of student services at Beaufort County Schools. “This year, between the spring and fall, if they budgeted what they thought they were going to do during the summer, it hasn’t worked, because they had to find childcare at a time they weren’t anticipating.”

For many families, the grants will come automatically. Those who filed a 2019 state tax return with at least one child age 16 or younger will receive the payment, which will be sent out no later than Dec. 15. According to the North Carolina Department of Revenue website, the department is still working out how those funds will be distributed.

The N.C. DOR also cautioned parents to double check their tax documents for 2019, making sure that they reported a qualifying child on line 10a of their Form D-400. If they did not, but would otherwise qualify for a grant, they need to fill out an amended D-400 prior to the Oct. 15 deadline.

For parents who did not file a 2019 state tax return, an application must be filled out either online or postmarked no later than Oct. 15. Those who were required to file for 2019, but who have not, will have to complete those tax returns before being eligible.

Additional details on the Extra Credit Grants, how to apply and other frequently asked questions can be found online at www.ncdor.gov/extracredit.