Urban Institute experts study public policies' effects on families and parents. We analyze family-leave policies, public supports for families, and government policies aimed at strengthening marriage. Our Low-Income Working Families project explores the hardships of employed families struggling to make ends meet.
A third of all families with children (13.4 million families) have incomes less than twice the federal poverty line. A sudden job loss or health crisis could derail them. Tax credits, food stamps, child care subsidies, and other work supports help. But they don't always close the gap between earnings and basic needs. Urban Institute analysts have proposed new initiatives to protect low-income working families and help them get ahead.
Little is known about the extent to which low-income households receive multiple public benefits and in what combinations; studies to date estimate low levels of multiple benefit receipt. This brief builds on what is known by investigating the number and types of benefits low-income families with children receive, and the characteristics of families receiving different benefit packages. We find that multiple benefit receipt is common among low-income families, but a minority of families receives benefits beyond food assistance and public health insurance, such as shelter assistance, cash assistance, or work supports.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created new opportunities for health and human services programs to integrate eligibility determination, enrollment, and retention. Using two large microsimulation models—the Transfer Income Model, Version 3, and the Health Insurance Policy Simulation Model—we find considerable overlaps between expanded eligibility for health coverage and current receipt of human services benefits, particularly with Earned Income Tax Credits, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. In an appendix, we identify specific data sharing strategies that seek to increase participation, lower administrative costs, and prevent errors.
Promise Neighborhood implementation grantees are required to set and submit baselines, actual performance data, and targets for each GPRA indicator and for all five years of the grant. While grantees were required to address targets in their applications, these targets were set before the Guidance Document was released and before complete baseline data was available at each site. This continuing guidance identifies several data sources, considerations, and methods sites may consider when setting targets. The submission of final baselines and targets is the first part of the Promise Neighborhood Data Plan required of all implementation grantees.
The federal income tax system provides substantial benefits to families with children. In 2013, the Tax Policy Center estimates that five major child-related tax benefits – the earned income tax credit (EITC), the child tax credit, the child and dependent care tax credit, the dependent exemption, and head of household filing status – will reduce taxes and provide credits totaling $171 billion (roughly $3,400 per family) for families with children. Nearly all families benefit, but low- and middle-income families tend to benefit most. This paper highlights who benefits from each major provision and how much benefit is received.