Friday, April 21, 2017

Universal Child Tax Credit

"Lately there has been growing interest in a simple and effective policy solution to weaknesses in the social safety net: making the Child Tax Credit (CTC) universal. The credit is also one of the rare social policies that bridges the left and right. In recent months, the case for transforming the CTC into a universal child allowance paid at monthly intervals had been made by both progressive and libertarian scholars."

Source: The American Prospect,4/19/17  Learn More >

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Supermarket Nourishes Food Desert Residents

"Even as Sears, Macy’s, and other traditional chains close stores – perhaps 3,500 this year in what some are calling a “retail apocalypse" – grocery chains are opening new outlets. And the fastest growth is happening, not in wealthy suburbia, but in low-income neighborhoods where access to fresh food is often limited. From Kansas City, Mo., to Philadelphia, Chicago to Birmingham, Ala., partnerships of risk-taking entrepreneurs and public officials are quietly solving the nation’s “food desert” problem.

In 2010, there were 8,959 food deserts – low-income census tracts where a significant portion of the population was more than a mile from a large grocery store or supermarket (or more than 10 miles in rural areas). By 2015, there were 9,245 low-income, low-access census tracts, a 3 percent increase, according to the US Department of Agriculture."

Source: The Christian Science Monitor, 4/11/17, Read More >

'Lunch Shaming' Will Soon Be Regulated

"Every day in this country students come to school without a way to pay for lunch. Right now it's up to the school to decide what happens next.

With policies to handle unpaid meals all over the map, the USDA, which administers the federal school meal program, will soon require that all school districts have a policy on what to do when kids can't pay — a growing problem.

By July 1, those policies must be in writing and communicated to staff, parents and the community."

Source: NPR, 4/17/7, Read More >

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Proposed Budget Could Erode Services for Seniors

"Advocates for seniors say Governor Dannel Malloy's proposed budget would put Connecticut seniors at risk. According to AARP, the governor's budget would erode seniors' access to vital programs, affecting everything from prescription drugs to home health care.

Claudio Gualtieri, advocacy director at AARP, notes that the state has a growing senior population, but the governor wants to cap access to the Home Care Program for Elders, which provides health care and services that seniors need to live independently at home."

Gualtieri made the following explanation on this matter, "So it will be timed to only serve the people who are on the program now, and to the extent, someone in the future could get a slot, they will be on a wait list."

Source: Public News Service, 4/18/17, Read More >

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ask Congress to Reject Cuts to After-School Programs

"More than 1,450 organizations have signed a letter to members of Congress on a key appropriations subcommittee asking that they reject President Trump's plan to cut federal support for after-school programs.

In the letter, the signers request that $1.167 billion be provided for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC), which is the program's current level of funding. These learning centers provide after-school and summer programs for students in low-income communities. President Trump's proposed budget would eliminate the program."

Source: Education Week, 4/11/17, Read More >

Wait List For CT Child Care Subsidies Grows

Thousands of low-income families hoping to receive child care subsidies are stuck in limbo as a wait list for the program swells. About 3,400 families are now on the wait list to receive Care4Kids subsidies. That number could grow to 5,000 families by this summer, say advocates who expect 2,200 more families seeking summer-only subsidies to be turned away as well.

The program’s current challenges emerged largely because of new federal regulations put in place last year, after Congress approved changes to the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act two years earlier. These regulations required Care4Kids to increase the program’s enrollment period to one year – up from eight months – while limiting paperwork for parents by reducing a number of stringent eligibility requirements. The reporting requirements often had tight deadlines for submitting information, and resulted in many families being kicked off the program even while they still qualified. Currently, about 12,000 families are enrolled in Care4Kids, receiving child care subsidies that range from $38 to $320 per week. Governor Malloy has called for limiting enrollment until 2019 to curb costs in the program, which is running a $33 million deficit.

Source: CT Mirror, 4/11/17, Care4Kids

Monday, April 17, 2017

What Many Americans Don't Know About SNAP

SNAP, is one of America’s most important welfare programs. It is also frequently misunderstood by both lawmakers and citizens who believe it’s rife with fraud; it’s abused by immigrants; it’s typically used to buy junk food. But many economists believe that SNAP is singularly effective.

In a recent interview with the Washington Post, one such economist--Craig Gunderson, who has worked in the field for 20 years--refuted most of these myths:

  • Most SNAP recipients are children, and most of those who are not young, elderly, or disabled, work.
  • SNAP participants do use their benefits to purchase soda and junk food, but one reason they may do so is that people tend to spend their SNAP dollars at the start of the month, so they buy things that are nonperishable--say bottles of soda. Then for the rest of the month they spend their cash on perishables like milk, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Selling SNAP EBT cards is an urban myth. When food stamps were paper coupons, a lot of people used to sell them. But with EBT, you can’t just sell the card--you’d also have to give the buyer your PIN number and trust they would bring the card back to you.
  • Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for SNAP benefits. However their children, if they are legal U.S. residents, have as much right to these benefits as anyone else.

Source: Washington Post, 4/4/17, Don't Know Much About Food Stamps