Work Supports and Benefits Access

Work Supports and Benefits Access

Despite working hard, millions of American families struggle to make ends meet. With the rising cost of raising a family, parents need additional support to achieve economic security. Public supports are available to help them, including tax credits, food assistance programs and health care assistance. These supports can provide a meaningful boost to family stability, but only if families access them. McKinsey & Company released a report showing that an estimated $65 billion in work supports goes unused each year. Community organizations, foundations, and local, state and the federal governments are testing and replicating new tools that aim to help families’ access the public supports they are eligible to receive.

Following is a list of key research that summarizes available work supports and programs designed to help families access them, as well as efforts to improve policies in this area.

The President’s Proposed EITC Expansion Would Benefit 6.1 Million Working Women at All Stages of Their Lives
National Women's Law Center, April 2014

The Effects of Minimum Wages on SNAP Enrollments and Expenditures
Rachel West and Michael Reich, Center for American Progress, March 2014

TANF Misery Index 2014 Update
Legal Momentum, February 2014

Expanding Federal Family and Medical Leave Coverage: Who Benefits from Changes in Eligibility Requirements?
Helene Jorgensen and Eileen Appelbaum, Center for Economic and Policy Research, February 2014

Raising the Minimum Wage and Redesigning the EITC
Isabel Sawhill and Quentin Karpilow, The Brookings Institution, January 2014

The Potential Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Income Inequality
Henry Aaron and Gary Burtless, The Brookings Institution, January 2014

Asset-Oriented Rental Assistance
Hannah Emple, New America Foundation, December 2013

Punishing Hard Work: The Unintended Consequences of Cutting SNAP Benefits
Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, Laura Harker, Ingrid Weiss, Kate Scully, Mariana Chilton, and Sharon Coleman, Children's HealthWatch, December 2013

The Economic Benefits of Extending Unemployment Insurance
White House Council of Economic Advisers and the U.S. Department of Labor, December 2013

Rental Assistance Helps More Than 300,000 Veterans Afford Homes, but Large Unmet Needs Remain

Will Fischer, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, November 2013

SNAP Use Increased Slightly in 2012
Jessica Carson, Carsey Institute, November 2013

Reforming the Swelling Food Stamps Program

The Heritage Foundation, October 2013

The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit: History, Purpose, Goals, and Effectiveness

Thomas L. Hungerford and Rebecca Thiess, Economic Policy Institute, September 2013

The Work versus Welfare Trade-Off: 2013

Michael D. Tanner and Charles Hughes, Cato Institute, August 2013

Various Supports for Low-Income Families Reduce Poverty and Have Long-Term Positive Effects on Families and Children

Arloc Sherman, Danilo Trisi and Sharon Parrott, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 2013

Working-Family Tax Credits Help Over 1 Million Military Families

Arloc Sherman, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 2013

The Facts on Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income for Workers with Disabilities

Shawn Fremstad and Rebecca Vallas, Center for American Progress, May 2013

Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption Leave in the United States

Institute for Women's Policy Research, May 2013

Child Care Subsidies Critical for Low-Income Families Amid Rising Child Care Expenses

Kristin Smith and Nicholas Adams, Carsey Institute, May 2013

Early Lessons from the Work Supports Strategies Initiative: Planning and Piloting Health and Human Services Integration in Nine States
Olivia Golden, Urban Institute, April 2013

Earned Income Tax Credit Promotes Work, Encourages Children’s Success at School, Research Finds

Chuck Marr, Jimmy Charite, and Chye-Ching Huang, Brookings Institute, April 2013

Poor Immigrants Use Public Benefits at a Lower Rate than Poor Native-Born Citizens

Leighton Ku and Brian Bruen, Cato Institute, March 2013

TANF Emerging from the Downturn a Weaker Safety Net
LaDonna Pavetti, Ife Finch and Liz Schott, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 2013

Food Stamps, Food Sufficiency, and Diet-Related Disease among the Elderly
Nadia Greenhalgh-Stanley and Katie Fitzpatrick, Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison, February 2013

School Breakfast Scorecard: 2011-2012 School Year
Food Research and Action Center, January 2013

Recent Data Show Continued Growth in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Use
Jessica A. Carson and William W. Meub, Carsey Institute, January 2013

On the Edges: Child Care Assistance Policies that Affect Parents, Providers, and Children
National Women's Law Center,December 2012

A Bipartisan Nation of Beneficiaries
Paul Taylor, Rich Morin, Kim Parker,Eileen Patten and Seth Motel, Pew Research Center,
December 2012

Share of Tax Filers Claiming EITC Increases Across States and Place Types Between 2007 and 2010
Marybeth Mattingly and Elizabeth Kneebone, Carsey Institute, December 2012

The Many Benefits of Paid Family and Medical Leave
Heather Boushey and Sarah Jane Glynn, Center for American Progress, November 2012

Downward Slide: Child Care Assistance Policies 2012
Karen Schulman and Heather Blank, National Women's Law Center, October 2012

Strengthening TANF for States and Needy Families
Peter Edelman, Heather Hahn and Olivia Golden, Urban Institute, August 2012

Effect of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on the New York City Poverty Rate
Mark Levitan and Daniel Scheer, Volume 29:1, Institute for Research on Poverty,
Spring/Summer 2012

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation during the Economic Recovery of 2003 to2007
Janna Johnson, Volume 29:1, Institute for Research on Poverty, Spring/Summer 2012

Focus: Food Assistance in America
Volume 29:1, Institute for Research on Poverty, Spring/Summer 2012

Disadvantaged Workers and the Unemployment Insurance Program
Maria E. Enchautegui, Urban Institute, July 2012

Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Participation in Government Programs 2004 to 2007 and 2009
Jeongsoo Kim, Shelley K. Irving and Tracy A. Loveless, U.S. Census Bureau, July 2012

Studies Show Earned Income Tax Credit Encourages Work and Success in School and Reduces Poverty
Jimmy Charite, Indivar Dutta-Gupta and Chuck Marr, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,
June 2012

Coordinating Human Service Programs with Health Reform Implementation
January Angeles, Shelby Gonzales and Alicia Koné, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,
June 2012

Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help New Parents
National Partnership for Women and Families, May 2012

Linking Human Services and Housing Assistance for Homeless Families and Families at Risk of Homelessness
Alvaro Cortes, Lauren Dunton, Meghan Henry, Jill Khadduri and Howard Rolston, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, May 2012

Building a Healthy America: A Profile of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

United States Department of Agriculture, April 2012

The Economic Consequences of Cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  Jeffrey Thompson and Heidi Garrett-Peltier, Center for American Progress, March 2012

TANF Weakening as a Safety Net for Poor Families
Danilo Trisi and LaDonna Pavetti, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 2012

How Former Prisoners Become Connected
David J. Harding, Jessica J. B. Wyse, Cheyney Dobson and Jeffrey D. Morenoff,
Focus, Volume 28:2, Institute for Research on Poverty, Fall/Winter 2011-12

The Dynamics of Disconnection for Low-Income Mothers

Pamela Loprest and Austin Nichols, Focus, Volume 28:2, Institute for Research on Poverty, Fall/Winter 2011-12

Focus: Disconnected Americans

Volume 28:2, Institute for Research on Poverty, Fall/Winter 2011-12

The Role of Advertising in the Growth of the SNAP Caseload

Stacy Dickert-Conlin, Katie Fitzpatrick and Laura Tiehen, National Poverty Center, February 2012

How Employment Constraints Affect Low-Income Working Parents’ Child Care Decisions

Ajay Chaudry, Juan Pedroza and Heather Sandstrom, Urban Institute, February 2012

The SNAP Vaccine: Boosting Children's Health

Children's HealthWatch, February 2012

Economic Circumstances of Individuals Who Exhausted Benefits

U.S. Government Accountability Office, February 2012

TANF Child-Only Cases

Olivia Golden and Amelia Hawkins, Urban Institute and the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administation for Children and Families,January 2012

Strengthening Economic Security for Children Living in LGBT Families

Movement Advancement Project, the Family Equality Council and the Center for American Progress, January 2012

Head Start: Supporting Success for Children and Families

National Women's Law Center, November 2011

Rent Burden, Housing Subsidies and the Well-being of Children and Youth

Yumiko Aratani, Michelle Chau, Vanessa R. Wight and Sophia Addy, National Center for Children in Poverty, November 2011

Reliance on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Continued to Rise Post-Recession
Jessica A. Bean, Carsey Institute, October 2011

Boost to SNAP Benefits Protected Young Children’s Health
Elizabeth L. March, Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, Kathryn Bailey, John Cook, Sharon Coleman, Ashley Schiffmiller and Deborah A. Frank, Children's HealthWatch, October 2011

Plan for a New Future: The Impact of Social Security Reform on People of Color
Maya M. Rockeymoore and Meizhu Lui, Commission to Modernize Social Security, October 2011

Work-Family Conflict: Look to Employers and Communities for Solutions
Ron Haskins, Jane Waldfogel and Sara McLanahan, The Future of Children, Woodrow Wilson of Public and International Affairs School, Princeton University and The Brookings Institution, Fall 2011

The Future of Children Journal: Work and Family
The Future of Children, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University and The Brookings Institution, V. 21 No. 2, Fall 2011

TANF in Rural America: Informing Re-authorization

Jessica A. Bean, Leif Jensen and Marybeth J. Mattingly, Carsey Institute, September 2011

Welfare Rules Databook: State TANF Policies
David Kasssabian, Tracy Vericker, David Searle and Mary Murphy, Urban Institute, August 2011

Six Ways that States and School Districts Can Make It Easier for Children in Foster Care to Get Free Meals at School
Nate Frentz and Zoë Neuberger, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 2011

Characteristics of Low-Income Single Mothers Disconnected from Work and Public Assistance
Pamela J. Loprest and Austin Nichols, Urban Institute, August 2011

Rural and Central City Residents with Multiple Children Likely to Be Hardest Hit by Proposed WIC Cuts
Jessica A. Bean, Carsey Institute, July 2011

House WIC Cuts Would End Food Assistance for 300,000 to 450,000 Low-Income Women and Children
Zoë Neuberger and Robert Greenstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, June 2011

Redesigning the TANF Contingency Fund to Make It More Effective
Liz Schott and LaDonna Pavetti, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,
June 2011

Medicaid Works: A Review of How Public Insurance Protects the Health and Finances of Children and Other Vulnerable Populations
Leighton Ku and Christine Ferguson, First Focus, June 2011

Federal Programs that Protect Young Children’s Health
Children's HealthWatch, June 2011

Improving Access to Work Supports: Strengthening State Policies and Practices

John Quinterno, The Working Poor Families Project, June 2011

Child Care Choices of Low-Income Working Families

Ajay Chaudry, Juan Pedroza, Heather Sandstrom, Anna Danziger, Michel Grosz, Molly M. Scott and Sarah Ting, Urban Institute, May 2011

Federal Tax Policies and Low-Income Rural Households

Ron Durst and Tracey Farrigan, USDA Economic Research Service, May 2011

An Assessment of the Effectiveness of Anti-Poverty Programs in the United States

Yonatan Ben-Shalom, Robert Moffitt and John Karl Scholz, Institute for Research on Poverty,
May 2011

Online Services for Key Low-Income Benefit Programs: What States Provide Online with Respect to SNAP, TANF, Child Care Assistance, Medicaid, and CHIP
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 2011

Antipoverty Effects of Unemployment Insurance
Thomas Gabe and Julie M. Whittaker, Congressional Research Service, April 2011

Ten Years of the EITC Movement: Making Work Pay Then and Now
Steve Holt, The Brookings Institution, April 2011

Unique Opportunity to Improve School Meals Applications
Zoë Neuberger and Abby Lane, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, April 2011

Food Security Improved Following the 2009 ARRA Increase in SNAP Benefits
Mark Nord and Mark Prell, USDA Economic Research Service, April 2011

The Class of 2011: Young Workers Face a Dire Labor Market Without a Safety Net
Heidi Shierholz and Kathryn Anne Edwards, Economic Policy Institute, April 2011

Landscape of Recession: Unemployment and Safety Net Services Across Urban and Suburban America
Emily Garr, The Brookings Institute Metropolitan Policy Program, April 2011

A Hand Up: How State Earned Income Tax Credits Help Working Families Escape Poverty in 2011
Nicholas Johnson and Erica Williams, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, April 2011

Welfare Reform at Age 15: A Vanishing Safety Net for Women and Children
Legal Momentum, April 2011

Reports of Unemployment Compensation in the American Community Survey
Michael Martinez-Schiferl, Sheila Zedlewski and Linda Giannarelli,
Urban Institute, March 2011

SNAP Take-up Among Immigrant Families with Children

Curtis Skinner, National Center for Children in Poverty, March 2011

Too Many Hurdles: Barriers to Receiving SNAP Put Children’s Health at Risk

Children's HealthWatch, March 2011

Paid Family Leave: Why the Family and Medical Leave Act Fails to Meet the Needs of America’s Working Families

Lauren Damme, New America Foundation, March 2011

Creating Subsidized Employment Opportunities for Low-Income Parents: The Legacy of the TANF Emergency Fund

LaDonna Pavetti, Liz Schott and Elizabeth Lower-Basch, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Center on Law and Social Policy, February 2011

Improving the Delivery of Key Work Supports: Policy & Practice Opportunities at a Critical Moment

Dottie Rosenbaum and Stacy Dean, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, February 2011

Responding to the New Geography of Poverty: Metropolitan Trends in the Earned Income Tax Credit

Elizabeth Kneebone and Emily Garr, Metropolitan Policy Program,
Brookings Institution, February 2011

TANF Responded Unevenly to Increase in Need During Downturn

LaDonna Pavetti, Ph.D., Danilo Trisi and Liz Schott, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, January 2011

Child Care Instability: Definitions, Context, and Policy Implications

Gina Adams and Monica Rohacek, Urban Institute, December 2010

Child Support Plays an Increasingly Important Role for Poor Custodial Families

Elaine Sorenseni, Urban Institute, December 2010

Federal TANF Funding Shrinking While Need Remains High

Liz Schott and LaDonna Pavetti, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, December 2010

The Economic Impact of Recent Temporary Unemployment Insurance Extensions

Council of Economic Advisers, Executive Office of the President, December 2010

Emergency Unemployment Insurance Benefits Remain Critical for the Economy

Chad Stone and Hannah Shaw, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, November 2010

State Child Care Assistance Policies 2010: Individual State Fact Sheets

National Women's Law Center, November 2010

Simplification of Health and Social Services Enrollment and Eligibility: Lessons for California from Interviews in Four States (pdf)
Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., November 2010

Online Services for Key Low-Income Benefit Programs: What States Provide On-Line with Respect to Food Stamps, TANF, Child Care Assistance, Medicaid, and CHIP (pdf)
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, November 2010

State Child Care Assistance Policies 2010: New Federal Funds Help States Weather the Storm (pdf)
Karen Schulman and Helen Blank, National Women's Law Center, September 2010

A Study on the Impact of The Ohio Benefit Bank (pdf)
Prepared by Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University, September 2010

Initial Results from the New York Noncustodial Parent EITC (pdf)
Elaine Sorensen, Urban Institute, August 2010

The Benefits and Costs of the Section 8 Housing Subsidy Program: A Framework and First-Year Estimates (pdf)
Deven Carlson, Robert Haveman, Thomas Kaplan and Barbara Wolfe, Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin, May 2010

Feeding Opportunity: Ending Child Hunger Furthers the Goal of Cutting U.S. Poverty in Half over the Next Decade
Joel Berg, Center for American Progress and the Half in Ten Campaign, May 2010


The Impact of State Income Taxes on Low-Income Families in 2009
Phil Oliff and Ashali Singham, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, April 2010

Some States Scaling Back Tax Credits for Low-Income Families
Nicholas Johnson and Erica Williams, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 2010

Early Findings From New York City's Conditional Cash Transfer Program (pdf)
James A. Riccio, Fast Focus, Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin, May 2010

Weathering the Storm: Have IDAs Helped Low-Income Homebuyers Avoid Foreclosure? (pdf)
Ida Rademacher and Kasey Wiedrich, Center for Enterprise Development and Signe-Mary McKernan and Megan Gallagher, The Urban Institute, April 2010

Doing What Works to End U.S. Hunger: Federal Food Programs Are Effective, but Can Work Even Better
Joel Berg, Center for American Progress, March 2010

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: Implications of Changes in Participation Rates
Kay E. Brown Government Accountability Office, March 2010

Child Care Feeding Programs Support Young Children's Healthy Development (pdf)
Annie Gayman, Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, Elizabeth March, John T. Cook, Sharon Coleman and Deborah A. Frank, Children's HealthWatch, March 2010

WIC Improves Child Health and School Readiness (pdf)
Annie Gayman, Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, Elizabeth March, John T. Cook and Sharon Coleman, Children's HealthWatch, March 2010

A Comparison of the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Kenneth Finegold, Nancy M. Pindus, Diane K. Levy, Tess Tannehill and Walter Hillabrant, Urban Institute, March 2010

Improving Access to Public Benefits: Helping Eligible Individuals and Families Get the Income Supports They Need
Shelley Waters-Boots, The Ford Foundation; Open Society Institute; Annie E. Casey Foundation, February 2010

Failure to Extend Improvements in Child Tax Credit Would Harm Millions of Low-Income Working Families
Arloc Sherman, Avi Feller and Chuck Marr, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, February 2010

Making Work Supports WorkA Picture of Low-wage Workers in America
Jessica Purmort, National Center for Children in Poverty, January 2010

Food Within Reach: Strategies for Increasing Participation in the Food Stamp Program in California (pdf)
Scott Graves, Jennifer Tucker, Alissa Anderson and Raul Macias, California Budget Project, December 2009

Battered by the Storm: How the Safety Net Is Failing Americans and How to Fix It
Deepak Bhargava, Timothy Casey, John Cavanagh, Karen Dolan, Peter Edelman, Barbara Ehrenreich, Sarita Gupta, Dedrick Muhammad, Diana Pearce, Steve Savner and Kevin Shih, Institute for Policy Studies, December 2009

The Impact of State Income Taxes on Low-Income Families in 2008
Phil Oliff and Ashali Singham, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, November 2009

Considerations in Efforts to Restructure Work-Based Credits
Steve Holt and Elaine Maag , Tax Policy Center, November 2009

Congressional Hearing Testimonies: Evaluating Safety-Net Programs During the Recession
House Ways and Means Committee on Income Security and Family Support, October 2009

Many Low-Income Working Families Turn to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Help
Sheila R. Zedlewski and Ei Yin Mon, The Urban Institute, August 2009

Extending the EITC to Noncustodial Parents: Potential Impacts and Design Considerations
Laura Wheaton and Elaine Sorenson, Tax Policy Center, June 2009

Food Insecurity Rates Rise Steeply with Recession (pdf)
Elizabeth L. March, John T. Cook and Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, Children's HealthWatch, June 2009

Seventy-Eight Percent of Working Rural Families To Receive Full Making Work Pay Tax Credit (pdf)
Marybeth J. Mattingly, The Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire, May 2009

Forty-Three Percent of Eligible Rural Families Can Claim A Larger Credit with EITC Expansion (pdf)
Marybeth J. Mattingly, The Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire, May 2009

Child Tax Credit Expansion Increases Number of Families Eligible for a Refund (pdf)
Marybeth J. Mattingly, The Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire, March 2009

The Earned Income Tax Credit and Older Workers
Janet McCubbin, AARP Public Policy Institute, AARP Foundation, January 2009

Economic Recovery and the EITC: Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to Benefit Families and Places
Elizabeth Kneebone, Brookings Institution, January 2009

Metro Raise: Boosting the Earned Income Tax Credit to Help Metropolitan Workers and Families
Alan Berube, David Park, and Elizabeth Kneebone,Brookings Institution, June 2008