I am a graduate student on a J-1 visa and my wife and foreign-born children are both J-2s. Is it possible to get Social Security Numbers for my J-2 children so that we can enter them as dependents on a family tax return and thus benefit from childcare-related tax breaks and benefits like the EITC / newly expanded Child Tax Credit that require children to have SSNs? (My wife and I are resident aliens so we are otherwise eligible for these tax benefits.)
Someone suggested to me that we could apply to USCIS for employment authorization for my children (who are technically J-2 dependents) and get SSNs for them in this way, but one is a toddler and the other is a preschooler, so work authorization sounds a bit absurd... Technically, both J-2 spouses and children are eligible for an Employment Authorization Document, but is there any lower age limit? In law or in practice? The applications are pretty expensive and take many months to get approved, so I'm reluctant to go that route without knowing that others have actually successfully gotten work authorization (and thus SSNs) for their young children... I don't want these applications to get rejected.
Let me also note that for the older child we got an ITIN in the past and had her as a dependent on our 2020 tax return with an ITIN, but the benefits are much worse with an ITIN than with a SSN... And for the younger one we have no U.S. number for the moment. So I filed for an extension on my 2021 taxes until this is clarified.
We are not trying to game the system in any way. We are paying taxes like any U.S. citizen, and should also be entitled to the same childcare tax breaks. We are currently not eligible for them only because our children were born outside the U.S., and that's frustrating.
Any tips will be highly appreciated!
@user102008, you provided an excellent reply to a thread that appeared related, I wonder what you'd think about my case.