When David and Thelma Ward had their taxes prepared, they had no idea they were about to receive a windfall of $54,000. In fact, this couple that lives on $39,000 a year were rendered speechless when H&R Block called to give them the news.
The Wards have six adopted children*, most with special needs, and for the first time they were eligible for the federal adoption tax credit. Like many tax breaks, you have to actually make enough money to receive the benefit. So for the past few years, the Wards weren't able to take the tax credit. But a new, and much more sensible, change was made to the federal adoption tax credit this year that does not require you to owe taxes before receiving the refund. (Thank you Affordable Health Care Act!) So the one-time tax credit of $13,170 becomes a real cash benefit instead of an imaginary number that doesn't mean anything to working class people.
It's about time.
Like previous health care tax credits, these federal adoption tax credits don't mean anything to people who don't make enough money to write off expenses on their taxes. Finally, someone realized that not everyone who adopts children are wealthy enough to owe taxes at the end of the year. Other people who adopt, but haven't been able to use the tax credit before, can also expect to see a chunk of change from the U.S. government this year.
The Wards seem especially worthy of this windfall, as they were foster parents who wound up adopting, even though they already have six of their own children (who seem remarkably well-adjusted). As Thelma put it, they couldn't let a child leave their home, knowing there was nowhere else for him to go. So Thelma left her job as a day care worker, and is now caring for six children they adopted, after fostering hundreds of others. David had to take a salary cut last year in order to keep his job, and two of the children have extensive medical bills due to illness, so this windfall could not come at a better time. Or to a better family.
Caring for children with special needs and fostering hundreds of others means a guaranteed spot in heaven for the Wards. But for right now, that $54,000 will surely give them a little (financial) peace on earth.
Did you know about the federal adoption tax credit?
Image via stevendepolo/Flickr
*The article says five adopted children, and seven previous. The video says six adopted children, six previous.