SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The new year brings the end of the child tax credit payments millions of American families received for the past 6 months.

While Congress is still debating a potential vote on the Build Back Better Plan, which may include an extension of the increased child tax credits, the future of any potential payments is highly uncertain.

The end of this federal aid program is hitting especially hard for one Sioux Falls family. 

Last Friday, January 14th would have been the next monthly child tax credit payment for Morgan Lehman and her six children. But this year those payments ended the same day their home was destroyed by a fire.

“He said he smelled smoke and he came up here and it was in flames, so he yelled at his sister upstairs that there was a fire and ran outside,” Lehman said. 

Her 15-year-old daughter was home watching her 9 and 4-year-old sons when the fire started Friday evening. They all ran out of their house at the corner of 6th Street and Cliff Avenue in Sioux Falls, flagging down traffic for anyone who could help. 

“Three kids, no socks no shoes; they literally had pajama pants on when they ran out there, no shirt, no nothing,” Lehman said. 

Lehman says she’s thankful for the woman who came by and let the kids and the family dog wait inside her car until Lehman rushed to the scene. She’s also incredibly grateful they were all able to get out safely, especially since her father was killed in a house fire when Morgan was just 10 years old. 

Still, Lehman is faced with the reality that the items her kids left the house with are about the only things they’ll be able to salvage from their badly damaged rental home.

“No insurance,” Lehman said. “I’ll just have to replace all of it.”

But she knows she won’t be able to replace it all, especially the recently unwrapped Christmas gifts her kids were just starting to enjoy.

“That arcade game was my favorite,” Lehman said. “You had mentioned the child tax credit, that was a bonus this year. I went out and did more for Christmas this last year because of it.”

It’s something she never brought herself to depend on this last year, but the money definitely made a difference every month. 

“It definitely helped with Christmas and I paid extra on my car payment every month, that’s where it went, [it] was to pay on that. It helped,” she said.

And while a payment this month would have come at just the right time to help with the overwhelming list of things she needs to help her family recover…

“The hardest part right now is just having somewhere for me and my kids to go, that’s the dilemma at the moment,” Lehman said. 

…she knows she’ll do whatever it takes to help her family move forward on their own, without the help of a monthly tax deposit in her account.

“I didn’t completely rely on it, so I’ll figure it out, it’s what I do,” Lehman said. “I just work, if I need the money, I just pick up shifts.”

Lehmans works two jobs as a server and a bartender in Sioux Falls and Crooks. She’s currently working with housing assistance but has yet to find a new home for her family. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the Lehman family recover from the fire.