When Saving Is Impossible

Christine Soberano (far left) with NETWORK advocates and staff lobbying on Capitol Hill. 

“When I married my second husband, I ended up getting involved with someone who was very abusive, and it’s hard to go to work if you have a black eye, or someone is calling you all the time, or showing up at your job, so I ended up in a situation where my six children and I were completely financially dependent on him. I went and joined a group called Sister Clare, which helps women who have been abused figure out a plan to escape this cycle of violence, and one of the first things they taught me is how to save money.

With a family of seven, it’s a pretty big task to come up with enough money to find a place to live, put a down payment, pay insurance, and get everything in order. That was pretty much what I planned on doing, but the only time I knew I would have enough money was when my tax return would come back. The refund from the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit was a big part of helping me survive through that time, and I was able to get out of that relationship and find a place to live. My refund of $5,000 helped me start a business, buy a house, help my son through college, and pay for other things for my kids. I was living month to month just barely getting by, but that refund helped me get them things I couldn’t afford otherwise.

Within the last three years or so I’ve been able to build my tax business, so I see the impact of the EITC and Child Tax Credit on a day to day basis. People, like me, need this to get a car to get to work. One young lady used her refund to get out of subsidized housing because she wanted a better place for her children. So, it’s not just me—it’s not just my story—it’s everybody.”

-Christine Soberano, NETWORK Advocate from South Carolina