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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Hahn, Heather
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    Work-related requirements—such as employment, job search, job training, or community engagement activities—are currently a condition of eligibility for some safety net programs. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing assistance and Medicaid each include work-related requirements in some states or localities for some beneficiaries. Recent proposals would expand or introduce new work requirements in these and other safety net programs, which offer vital supports for families to meet their basic needs.

    For parents, meeting work requirements to gain or maintain eligibility for safety net programs and access to vital supports is not as straightforward as simply engaging in the required work activities. Parents must not only understand what the requirements are, but be able to access the necessary training and supports to meet the requirements and document their compliance. If they qualify for an exemption, they must learn how to document this as well. Agencies administering safety net programs must be able...

    Work-related requirements—such as employment, job search, job training, or community engagement activities—are currently a condition of eligibility for some safety net programs. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), housing assistance and Medicaid each include work-related requirements in some states or localities for some beneficiaries. Recent proposals would expand or introduce new work requirements in these and other safety net programs, which offer vital supports for families to meet their basic needs.

    For parents, meeting work requirements to gain or maintain eligibility for safety net programs and access to vital supports is not as straightforward as simply engaging in the required work activities. Parents must not only understand what the requirements are, but be able to access the necessary training and supports to meet the requirements and document their compliance. If they qualify for an exemption, they must learn how to document this as well. Agencies administering safety net programs must be able to efficiently process each case.

    This report illustrates and explores the complex pathways parents who are subject to work requirements must navigate to maintain their access to the safety net. Some pathways may lead families to maintain their access to benefits, while others could lead them to lose access to benefits for which they are still eligible. (Edited author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Parolin, Zachary; Luigjes, Christiaan
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2019

    Spending on cash assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program has declined across the U.S. throughout recent decades. Simultaneously, spending on the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs has steadily increased. This papers investigates whether retrenchment of TANF assistance has led to increases in the participation and levels of benefit receipt of SNAP and SSI. Applying a differences-in-differences approach on household income data from 1997 to 2015, we find that a $50 policy-induced decline in states’ TANF cash assistance allocations leads to an increase of between $17 to $32 per month in federal allocations of SNAP and SSI benefits among single-mother households. From a household income perspective, these findings suggest that increases in SNAP and SSI participation have partially offset the retrenchment in TANF assistance. From a state incentive perspective, we find that state governments have the ability, and even a financial incentive, to shift social assistance...

    Spending on cash assistance from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program has declined across the U.S. throughout recent decades. Simultaneously, spending on the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs has steadily increased. This papers investigates whether retrenchment of TANF assistance has led to increases in the participation and levels of benefit receipt of SNAP and SSI. Applying a differences-in-differences approach on household income data from 1997 to 2015, we find that a $50 policy-induced decline in states’ TANF cash assistance allocations leads to an increase of between $17 to $32 per month in federal allocations of SNAP and SSI benefits among single-mother households. From a household income perspective, these findings suggest that increases in SNAP and SSI participation have partially offset the retrenchment in TANF assistance. From a state incentive perspective, we find that state governments have the ability, and even a financial incentive, to shift social assistance caseloads to the federal government. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Parolin, Zachary; Brady, David
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2019

    This paper applies improved household income data to reevaluate the levels, trends, composition, and role of social policy in extreme child poverty in the U.S. from 1997-2015. Unlike prior research, we correct for the underreporting of means-tested transfers and incorporate the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Doing so reduces the share of children below $2 per day from about 1.8% to 0.1%. That said, we acknowledge use of survey data omits the estimated 1.3 million homeless children in 2014-2015. We find that three different measures of extreme child poverty have declined since 1997. Unlike prior literature’s focus on single motherhood, citizenship status is the more consequential characteristic. Between 58-73% of children in extreme poverty live in households headed by non-citizens. Simulations granting them access to the median SNAP benefit reduce their extreme poverty substantially. Two-way fixed effects models show that higher state-level generosity and take up of SNAP and TANF significantly reduce extreme poverty. Unlike prior research’s focus on the...

    This paper applies improved household income data to reevaluate the levels, trends, composition, and role of social policy in extreme child poverty in the U.S. from 1997-2015. Unlike prior research, we correct for the underreporting of means-tested transfers and incorporate the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Doing so reduces the share of children below $2 per day from about 1.8% to 0.1%. That said, we acknowledge use of survey data omits the estimated 1.3 million homeless children in 2014-2015. We find that three different measures of extreme child poverty have declined since 1997. Unlike prior literature’s focus on single motherhood, citizenship status is the more consequential characteristic. Between 58-73% of children in extreme poverty live in households headed by non-citizens. Simulations granting them access to the median SNAP benefit reduce their extreme poverty substantially. Two-way fixed effects models show that higher state-level generosity and take up of SNAP and TANF significantly reduce extreme poverty. Unlike prior research’s focus on the decline of TANF, we show SNAP has grown in generosity and take-up. In turn, changes to social policy since 1997 have probably had offsetting effects on extreme child poverty. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Acs, Gregory; Wheaton, Laura
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    The current administration has proposed changing the way we measure inflation when setting the federal poverty thresholds because it believes that the current measure, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U), overstates inflation. An alternative measure the administration is considering and seeking public input on is the Chained Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers, commonly known as “chained CPI.”

    Switching the inflation measure from CPI-U to the chained CPI would result in slower inflation rates from year to year. The differences between the two inflation measures would be minimal at first but would compound over time. Fewer low-income people would be included among those living under the poverty line and fewer would qualify for programs that use federal poverty guidelines (which are based on the poverty thresholds) to determine eligibility. A program that relies on federal poverty guidelines to determine eligibility is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation’s primary food assistance program that serves roughly 40 million people...

    The current administration has proposed changing the way we measure inflation when setting the federal poverty thresholds because it believes that the current measure, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U), overstates inflation. An alternative measure the administration is considering and seeking public input on is the Chained Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers, commonly known as “chained CPI.”

    Switching the inflation measure from CPI-U to the chained CPI would result in slower inflation rates from year to year. The differences between the two inflation measures would be minimal at first but would compound over time. Fewer low-income people would be included among those living under the poverty line and fewer would qualify for programs that use federal poverty guidelines (which are based on the poverty thresholds) to determine eligibility. A program that relies on federal poverty guidelines to determine eligibility is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation’s primary food assistance program that serves roughly 40 million people per month.

    In this brief, we use Urban’s Analysis of Transfer, Taxes, and Income Security microsimulation model and 2016 American Community Survey data to estimate the number of people who would ultimately lose SNAP benefits if the poverty guidelines were based on poverty thresholds adjusted for inflation using the chained CPI. We find that in 2016:

    • 579,000 SNAP recipients would have been ineligible for SNAP if the chained CPI had been the inflation measure used to adjust federal poverty thresholds for the previous 15 years. Among those recipients, 242,000—or about 42 percent—would have been children.
    • The number of recipients losing SNAP eligibility would grow over time. Had the chained CPI been used for five years prior to 2016, 104,000 SNAP recipients would have been ineligible, and if it had been used for ten years, 245,000 recipients would have been ineligible. 
    • Had the chained CPI been used for the previous 15 years, just over 240,000 SNAP households would have been ineligible in the average month in 2016, including nearly 50,000 households with a person age 60 or older, more than 20,000 households with a person with a disability, and more than 118,000 households with at least one child.
    • The number households that would have been ineligible in 2016 also varies by state with more populous states experiencing the largest reductions in eligibility. Had the chained CPI been used for the previous 15 years, 24,000 households and 15,000 households in New York and California, respectively, would have been ineligible. (Author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Hartig, Seth
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2019

    This presentation was given at the 57th National Association for Welfare Research and Statistics (NAWRS) Workshop in 2019. The presentation provides an overview of the perils of food assistance and other social services benefits cliffs, as well as the results of a study on the effects of minimum wage and inflation on benefit limits. Discrepencies between market rates and subsidies for food, child care, and other needs can cause families to face severe financial circumstances when they reach sharp benefit limits.

    This presentation was given at the 57th National Association for Welfare Research and Statistics (NAWRS) Workshop in 2019. The presentation provides an overview of the perils of food assistance and other social services benefits cliffs, as well as the results of a study on the effects of minimum wage and inflation on benefit limits. Discrepencies between market rates and subsidies for food, child care, and other needs can cause families to face severe financial circumstances when they reach sharp benefit limits.

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