Government safety net programs aim to protect families during tough times—before they fall into poverty. But rising unemployment, foreclosures, and economic distress are putting pressure on a system already in need of updates and repairs.
Urban Institute experts, building on decades of welfare reform research, evaluated public safety nets and proposed new initiatives to bolster work supports and help families gain a stable financial footing. Read more.
This study is the first to offer a detailed look at medical spending burden levels, defined as total family medical out-of-pocket spending as a proportion of income, for each state. It further investigates which states have greater shares of individuals with high burden levels and no Medicaid coverage, but would be Medicaid eligible under the 2014 rules of the Affordable Care Act should their state choose to participate in the expansion. This work suggests which states have the largest populations likely to benefit, in terms of lowering medical spending burden, from participating in the 2014 adult Medicaid expansions.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Department of Housing and Urban Development sponsored two major experiments to test whether housing choice vouchers propelled low-income households into greater economic security, the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing program (MTO) and the Welfare to Work Voucher program (WTW). Using data from these programs, this study examines differences in residential location and employment outcomes between voucher recipients with access to automobiles and those without. Overall, the findings underscore the positive role of automobiles in outcomes for housing voucher participants.
As part of the Bloomberg administration’s focus on young children, New York City reorganized its system of contracted child care through EarlyLearn NYC. This program braided funding from child care, Head Start, and state universal prekindergarten to improve access and continuity for low-income children and their families. EarlyLearn NYC has implemented higher program quality standards and redistributed contracts across the city to increase the supply of care in targeted, high-need neighborhoods. This brief is one in a series examining selected social service initiatives undertaken during the Bloomberg administration.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides nutritious foods, nutrition education, and referrals to other services. WIC eligibility is restricted to infants, children under age 5, and pregnant and postpartum women with low incomes. This project uses survey data to estimate WIC eligibility for the nation, states, the District of Columbia, and territories. In 2011, 14.3 million individuals were eligible for WIC benefits in an average month, including 63 percent of all infants. Overall, 63 percent of eligible people participated, with the highest coverage rate for infants (83 percent) and widely varying rates across states.