Category: Safety Net

Resource Category Topic Type
Seventy-eight Percent of Working Rural Families to Receive Full Making Work Pay Tax Credit
The Making Work Pay Tax Credit provides eligible U.S. workers with additional money in each paycheck throughout the year. The fact sheet shows that 78 percent of rural working families will receive the full amount of the credit, while an additional 10 percent of families will receive a partial credit due to low earnings or high earnings. These tax credits, along with the expansion to the Child Tax Credit, are an important financial boost to families in rural America, particularly low-income working families.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Family, Rural, Safety Net, Tax Publication
Share of Childless Adults Eligible for EITC Triples Under American Rescue Plan
In this fact sheet, author Jess Carson explores how changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit in 2021 affect childless tax filers. Findings show that the share of childless adults who can claim a credit has tripled under the new provisions, and that the biggest driver of widened access is lowering the minimum age for eligibility.
COVID-19, Vulnerable Families Research Program COVID-19, Income, Low Income, Poverty, Safety Net, Tax, Wages Publication
Share of Tax Filers Claiming EITC Increases Across States and Place Types Between 2007 and 2010
In this brief, Authors Beth Mattingly and Elizabeth Kneebone use Internal Revenue Service tax filing data to show that the share of tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) increased between 2007 and 2010, as did the size of the average credit claimed and the number of EITC filers benefitting from the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit (the Additional Child Tax Credit,
Vulnerable Families Research Program Safety Net, Tax Publication
SNAP Use Increased Slightly in 2012
This brief uses data from the American Community Survey to examine rates of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) receipt in 2012, track changes since the onset of the recession, and monitor receipt by region and place type.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Family, Food Assistance, Health, Poverty, Safety Net Publication
Social Service Delivery in Two Rural Counties
When low-income residents struggle to make ends meet, non-profit social service agencies can help fill the gaps. In doing so, these agencies must find sufficient funding, retain qualified staff, and craft efficient service delivery mechanisms that are respectful of clients and communities. Some of the challenges that service providers encounter are exacerbated by rural characteristics, such as vast geographic distances and the lack of economies of scale. Yet in some ways rurality is beneficial, as small communities can facilitate community engagement and providers can engage natural supports in their service delivery work.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Low Income, Poverty, Safety Net Publication
State EITC Programs Provide Important Relief to Families in Need
The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the largest anti-poverty programs in the nation, offering tax credits to low- and moderate-earning families.1 The amount of EITC benefits varies by earnings and the number of dependent children in a family, with considerably more generous benefits going to families with children. In addition to the federal EITC, as of 2015, twenty-six states and the District of Columbia provided additional EITC dollars.2 Most state EITCs are generally structured such that they offer credits equal to a proportion of the federal EITC, varying from 3.5 percent in Louisiana to 40 percent in Washington, DC. This brief documents the estimated effects of state EITC benefits on rates of poverty in 2010–2014 using the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). First, we examine Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) rates and average EITC benefits across states with a fully refundable EITC between 2010 and 2014, and estimate how much higher poverty rates would have been in the absence of the state EITC. Next, we analyze how trends in poverty and state EITC benefits vary by race, marital status, metropolitan status, and region among these states. Finally, we project hypothetical differences in poverty rates for non-EITC states had they adopted EITCs of various generosities over this same time period.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Poverty, Safety Net, Tax Publication
TANF in Rural America: Informing Re-authorization
In 1996 welfare reform ushered in a new era in which cash assistance for poor parents became both temporary and conditional on activities to promote economic independence through work. Cash assistance from TANF relieves, but does not eliminate, poverty because benefit levels are far too low to lift families above the poverty threshold. These ameliorative effects are weaker in rural than urban areas. Over time, the positive impacts of TANF receipt have continued to decline. The authors assert that the necessity of re-authorizing TANF gives us an opportunity to reflect on its strengths and limitations. TANF is an important component of poor families' budgets. However, in its current form, it is insufficient; strengthening TANF would help alleviate some material hardship in the lives of America's neediest citizens. In order to adapt TANF to better support struggling families in a modern economy, the authors suggest that the TANF reauthorization keep America's rural poor in mind, acknowledge differences in ameliorative effects, re-establish the TANF Emergency Fund, reinvigorate the Contingency Fund, and reconsider TANF Supplemental Grants.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Family, Poverty, Rural, Safety Net Publication
The Effects of State EITC Expansion on Children’s Health
This brief examines the impact of state-level adoption of Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) on a set of health-related outcomes for children, including: (1) health insurance coverage, (2) use of preventive medical and dental care, and (3) health status measures including maternal reports of child health and body mass index.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Health, Safety Net Publication
The Impact of State Medicaid Expansion Under the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance Coverage at the County Level
Counties and states with large shares of uninsured risk having to contend with a range of health and economic impacts, such as reduced workplace productivity, unsustainable demands on emergency departments, higher tax burdens resulting from uncompensated care costs, and deteriorating health care quality due to reductions in public spending.1 In 2013, before the implementation of major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, 41 million U.S. adults age 19–64 had no health insurance. Coverage varies considerably by geographic location. For instance, in 2013 county-level coverage rates ranged from a high of 96 percent in Norfolk County, Massachusetts to a low of 57 percent in Willacy County, Texas.2 The purpose of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act was to make health care more accessible to low-income populations. By early 2015, 28 states had expanded Medicaid eligibility (see Figure 1). The expansion by some states but not by others provides a unique opportunity to examine the impact of this new policy on changes in health insurance coverage. Moreover, as the newly elected Republican President and the Republican-controlled Congress consider the future of health care reform, understanding the efficacy of components of the Affordable Care Act, such as Medicaid expansion, will be essential for continuing efforts to increase coverage rates and subsequently minimize the associated consequences of low coverage rates. This research identifies differences in changes in insurance coverage rates for non-elderly adults (age 18–64) from 2013 to 2015 between counties in states that did and did not expand Medicaid. The analysis also identifies the county-level factors that contributed to these differences. The year 2013 is used as the starting point because Medicaid expansion did not begin until January 1, 2014.3
Vulnerable Families Research Program Health Insurance, Safety Net Publication
The Interaction Between the Minimum Wage and the Federal EITC
Increases in the minimum wage are widely assumed to be beneficial for low-income workers, but it is important to consider the effect an increase might have on eligibility for other benefits, particularly the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This fact sheet examines the interaction between the minimum wage and the EITC to determine whether a minimum wage increase would produce gains in the sum of earnings plus EITC dollars for low-income workers.1
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Income, Safety Net, Tax, Wages Publication
The Poverty-Reducing Effect of Five Key Government Programs in Rural and Urban America
Federal programs are critical for helping those with low incomes make ends meet. But not all such programs are equally effective at reducing poverty, nor do they benefit all of those in poverty uniformly.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Safety Net Publication
The Poverty-Reducing Effects of the EITC and Other Safety Nets for Young Adult Parents
In this brief, Jess Carson explores the poverty-reducing effects of key federal safety net programs among 18-24 year old (“young adult”) parents.
COVID-19, Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, COVID-19, Family, Food Assistance, Low Income, Safety Net, Young Adults Publication
Three in Ten Rural and Urban Medicaid Recipients Affected by Potential Work Requirements
The Affordable Care Act in 2010 gave states the option to expand Medicaid access to adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Thus more able-bodied and working adults have become eligible for Medicaid. In addition, several states have petitioned the federal government to have the option to enforce work requirements for those receiving Medicaid in their state.1 Specific waiver requests vary by state, but could have broad implications for Medicaid recipients across the nation, and typically include a requirement of able-bodied, adult Medicaid recipients to complete a certain number of hours spent working, or in some kind of other approved activity, like job training or looking for work. Children under age 19, pregnant or recently postpartum women, people with disabilities, and sole caretakers of young children are typically excluded from these proposed work requirements.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Poverty, Rural, Safety Net, Urban Publication
Unemployment Insurance: A Safety Net for Victims of Intimate Partner Violence and Their Children
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that over 5 million intimate partner assaults are perpetrated against women each year, and they lose more than 8 million days of work annually. Expanding Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to victims of domestic violence is one mechanism for supporting women as they seek to escape the violence in their lives.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Health, Safety Net, Unemployment, Women Publication
What's for Dinner? Finding and Affording Healthy Foods in New Hampshire Communities
Access to healthy food is becoming increasingly difficult for some households in the Granite State, as grocery stores relocate or consolidate, leaving some residents to depend on convenience stores for basic groceries. This brief looks at recent data on food deserts in New Hampshire.
Evaluation, New Hampshire Family, Food Assistance, New Hampshire, Safety Net Publication