SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A financial bonus for families that began six months ago to provide more money for their children is going away at the end of the month.

In July, the Child Tax Credit was increased as part of the American Rescue Plan to provide more money per child: $300 for a child under age 6 and $250 for each child between the ages of 6 and 17.

The higher tax credit could be received in monthly payments or in the form of a higher tax refund in 2022.

Millions of families opted to take the money each month to help with child care, groceries and even rent, as many are suffering from the impacts of the pandemic.

Shakuria Smith, of Savannah, says her family has been receiving $550 each month for her son Noah, who is 4 years old, and her son Josiah, who is 7 years of age.

“It has meant a lot for our family,” said Smith. “It helped us with child care needs and school expenses.”

Nationwide, it’s estimated 61 million children have benefited, and that in November alone, the higher payments kept 4 million children from poverty.

“It means a lot to a lot of families, especially those with single mothers,” said Smith.

Figures provided by Step UP Savannah say one in every three families in Savannah has little if any savings.

Up to 40 percent of households in Chatham County pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent and in Savannah, that number is even higher at 47 percent.

The Build Back Better Bill calls for continuing the higher child tax credit payments for another year, however, it’s stalled. At this point, the higher payments are gone.

The Child Tax Credit will continue after the first of the year, but the credit will revert back to lesser payments.

Smith says the extra money received in the past six months is money that parents found to be a lifeline.

“They’re using it for child care expenses, using it to put food on the table and to keep their lights on and to have a home. That’s what the people I know are using it for,” said Smith.