By Andrea Grymes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Starting next week, some 36 million American families will start receiving monthly checks from the feds, thanks to the expanded child tax credit.

So who qualifies, and what do you need to do to make sure you’re signed up?

READ MORE: Timo Meier Scores Twice In Sharks' Win Over Devils

As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reports, East Harlem dad of two Edgar Gonzaga says now is the perfect time for a little extra money in his pocket.

“Would definitely put it towards school, because with COVID, the bills are definitely getting expensive.”

Theirs is just one of millions of families congressional Democrats hope to help with the expanded child tax credit.

Checks start going out to those who qualify next Thursday, July 15.

“It does great things for our economy, pumping money into it. It does great things for families who had to struggle with COVID. So many families have had to struggle. And most of all, what we’re so proud of, it takes half the kids in New York out of poverty,” said Sen. Charles Schumer.

READ MORE: Paterson, N.J. Doubling Down On Vaccination Efforts As Omicron Variant Inches Closer

In order for families to qualify, single taxpayers must make $75,000 or less. Married couples filing taxes jointly must make $150,000 or less – they’ll receive monthly payments through December of up to $300 per month for each child ages 6-17. They’ll get the rest of the money next year when they file their taxes, for a grand total of up to $3,600 per child.

If you filed taxes for 2019 or 2020 which included the child tax credit, you don’t have do anything. The checks will be automatically mailed or directly deposited into your account.

“The people we really need to contact are those who don’t normally file a return but are now eligible for, as you said, a refundable credit,” said Sue Simon of the IRS.

Undocumented parents can also qualify as long as they have an individual taxpayer identification number, and their children have social security numbers.

For families that need help navigating any of this, the IRS is hosting free walk-in hours at the Ted Weiss Federal Building at Broadway and Reade Street on Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

MORE NEWS: Street Closures Planned In Midtown For Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Many congressional Republicans opposed the expansion, calling it an expansion of welfare. Democrats hope to make the temporary, one-year credit permanent.

Andrea Grymes