Protecting Assistance for Families in Need

There is strong evidence to show that the nation’s core economic security programs are highly effective: they sharply reduce poverty, improve nutrition and health care for millions of children, families, and individuals, and promote work. Changes in the economy–which have fostered low-wage jobs that are also unstable, lack adequate hours, and require volatile, last-minute job schedules—mean that millions of people require help from safety net programs in order to obtain the necessities of life.

Solutions:
– Protect SNAP from any changes that would undermine the core nutritional support it provides or the key counter-cyclical role it plays in times of economic downturns.
– Allow low-income participants to buy quality foods throughout the month.
– Fix the negative incentives in the TANF performance measures, including making family well-being the key focus of the program and allowing training, which is essential for workers to compete in the new economy, to count fully towards participation requirements.
– Ensure that low-income families can have reliable vehicles and build the emergency savings necessary to remain self-sufficient once benefits end.
– Focus on the enrollment and retention of low-income families with toddlers in WIC, as they are far less likely to receive the benefits they are eligible for than families with infants.
– Ensure that low-income families have access to the full package of safety net programs for which they are eligible, including SNAP, Medicaid, child care assistance, TANF, and WIC, with a minimum of burden, churn or sharp loss of benefits as earnings increase.

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