I am a single mother of six kids and a graduate student earning $17,000 a year. Even with child care assistance from the state and family support, it is a struggle to make ends meet every month. My struggle was made easier this year when I reclaimed more than a quarter of my annual income through the Earned Income Tax Credit.
I qualified for $4,300 in Earned Income Tax Credit refunds from my taxes this year. The money is going to student loans, credit card bills and school supplies. I rely on this money to make it every year. It’s so important that I’ve lobbied on behalf of organizations like 9to5, National Association of Working Women to educate legislators on how this refund has been critical to my survival.
I am not alone in my financial struggle. Half of all single mothers in Colorado don’t earn enough to make ends meet, according to the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute. Overall, one in five households in Colorado does not earn enough income to be self-sufficient and financially stable.
I am a survivor. Pregnant as a teenager and the victim of two abusive husbands, I am turning my life around. In May 2010, I will graduate with a Masters in Public Administration with a focus on Domestic Violence. My dream is to open a residential treatment facility for those convicted of domestic violence. I believe in education and want to change the system. Those who commit domestic violence need treatment. I had to flee an abusive husband and move to a different state to keep my kids safe. More importantly, my six children, age 5 to 17, have a strong role model in their mother to show them how important education is to achieving self sufficiency. The children are safe, involved in the neighborhood where they live, have friends and are succeeding in school and in life.
- U.S. Census Bureau, “American FactFinder,” 2007 American Community Survey (accessed May 2011). Data came from the following tables: Statewide poverty percentages, GCT1701, Ratio of income to poverty level, C17002
- U.S. Census Bureau, “American FactFinder,” 2009 American Community Survey (accessed May 2011). Data came from the following tables: Statewide poverty percentages, GCT1701, Ratio of income to poverty level, C17002
- Half in Ten analysis of Table 1, 2007 State Expenditure Report, National Association of State Budget Officers.
- Half in Ten analysis of Table 1, 2009 State Expenditure Report, National Association of State Budget Officers.
- IRS EITC09. EITC09PY Table as of 12/31/10. IRS Master File, posted to IRS website, EIC Participation For Tax Year 2009, by State.