Why don't I get the full $1000 per child on child tax credit? & 1 more question?

I have 3 children. I'm filing married filing jointly. My husband's income is all we get...I do not work. My youngest was born on Christmas day 2006. Each year my child tax credit has been LESS than $1000 per child. Even when I just had one child I didn't get the full amount. We make less than... show more I have 3 children. I'm filing married filing jointly. My husband's income is all we get...I do not work. My youngest was born on Christmas day 2006. Each year my child tax credit has been LESS than $1000 per child. Even when I just had one child I didn't get the full amount. We make less than $28,000 per year so we do qualify for the EIC also. Last year I got $2,400 credit for 3 kids (I could claim my youngest because she was born before January 1st). But, this year I will only get $1600 and we made LESS money for the year (my husband lost his job and got a new one at lesser pay).

Also, is this money I actually get back on my refund or is it just a deduction to help you not owe taxes? I've always been confused about that. I used to be under the assumption that you got the money as a refund but, now I think CTC might just be a deduction (like claiming medical bills or something). Thanks
7 answers 7