Public benefits, like Medicaid, childcare subsidies, and food assistance, provide lifelines to millions of low-income women. However, public benefit rules trap many women in low-wage work because women can lose entire benefits due to small increases in income. Women must sacrifice a hard-won raise to keep essential supports, like childcare, or struggle to afford such supports. Many policymakers are unaware of these "benefit cliffs." The Family Resource Simulator (FRS) shows policymakers how current policies create cliffs and how better policies (e.g., slowly phasing outs benefits as incomes rise) can eliminate cliffs. To date, the FRS has helped strengthen policies in 14 states, improving economic well-being for over 4 million people annually. Further, FRSs, in job centers, calculate for women the effect of a new job on their financial resources, accounting for lost benefits, and provides recommendations (e.g., utilizing specific types of savings accounts) to reduce cliffs. This project will scale the FRS nationwide.
National Center for Children in Povertywebsite: http://www.nccp.org
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