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WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) announced today they introduced a bill called the Foster EITC Act, to increase the earned income tax credit (EITC) for childless adults, expand age eligibility for the childless EITC to 21 years of age for all working Americans and 18 years of age for youth formerly in foster care. The EITC is a federal tax credit for low- and moderate-income working individuals and families, and it is not currently available to workers under the age of 25 unless they are raising children.

More than 20,000 youth between the ages of 18 and 21 leave foster care each year to begin their adult lives. When these young people “age out”, they often face financial insecurity, lack of a support network,  and have difficulty securing stable housing, making the bridge to successful, independent adulthood more challenging.

Foster EITC Act modifies the earned income tax credit to:

  • Reduce from 25 to 18 the qualifying age for youth formerly in foster care, and to age 21 for all childless adults
  • Make permanent the increase in the rate of such credit for taxpayers with three or more children
  • Increase the credit for taxpayers with no qualifying children
  • Revise eligibility rules relating to married individuals living apart and qualifying children claimed by another family member

“The Earned Income Tax Credit is one of the most effective tools we have to ensure that individuals in Pennsylvania and across the nation are able to provide a more stable financial environment for themselves and their families,” said Sen. Casey.  “I’m proud to sponsor this legislation to expand the EITC to more Americans, including the over 20,000 18- to 21-year-olds who age out of foster care each year. Foster youth are America’s children, and we must do our utmost to mitigate the unique challenges they face as they enter adulthood, particularly financial instability. Allowing youth formerly in foster care to claim the EITC as soon as they age out is a common-sense way of supporting these individuals as they work to become independent, successful adults.”

“Young people exiting the foster care system experience a range of unique economic challenges, so we should be doing everything possible to ensure they have strong opportunities to earn a ticket to the middle class.” said Senator Murray. “I’m proud to join in introducing this legislation to make key updates to the Earned Income Tax Credit and ensure youth exiting the foster care system have the chance to start their adult lives with more economic security.”

“The Earned Income Tax Credit has a proven track record of raising earnings and lifting families out of poverty in Massachusetts,” said Sen. Warren. “It’s important to maintain access to benefits for low-income married couples and families, and give working adults without children the support they deserve. Young adults exiting the foster care system face particular economic challenges, and this bill ensures that they have access to this critical anti-poverty program when it matters most.”

The Foster EITC Act is supported by First Focus, National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, National Education Association, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and Easter Seals Inc.