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Making Work Supports Work Publications

Brief, January 2014

Energy insecurity (EI) reflects an inability to adequately meet basic household heating, cooling, and energy needs. EI is a pervasive and often-overlooked problem for low-income families with children. Conceptually, EI is a multi-dimensional construct that describes the interplay between structural conditions of housing and the costs of household energy. This brief describes the extent of economic EI, — disproportionate share of household income allocated to utility expenses among families with children, by family income, demographic characteristics, and geographical area, using the 2011 American Community Survey.

Report, April 2013

This brief provides an up-to-date look at how pioneering states and localities are using – or plan to use – improved poverty measurement to build smarter social policy.

Report, April 2012

Because of state balanced-budget requirements, policymakers are generally compelled to cut spending, seek new sources of revenue, or undertake both actions when revenues fall below projections. Even in a serious economic downturn, several states are finding ways to protect their safety nets for families and children. This report takes a look at states that have managed to do just that.

Report, November 2011

This policy report uses results from the Family Resource Simulator and the Basic Needs Budget Calculator to analyze New Jersey’s work support policies through the lens of cuts to New Jersey FamilyCare (NJFC). It examines the significant and measurable ways in which these cuts affect low-income children and families, the state budget, and the local economy. The report closes with policy recommendations that could provide a better investment in New Jersey’s working families and its economy.

Brief, June 2011

Using results from NCCP’s Basic Needs Budget Calculator and Family Resource Simulator, this brief highlights findings on the effectiveness of work support policies in Montana.

Brief, May 2011

This policy brief uses results from the Family Resource Simulator and the Basic Needs Budget Calculator to analyze Mississippi’s work support policies. It identifies gaps in health insurance coverage among working parents and suggests policies that would be effective in increasing access to parental health insurance. It also demonstrates how the implementation of a parent expansion program could positively impact the health and economic security of low-income families.

Brief, April 2011

This brief uses the Family Resource Simulator and Basic Needs Budget Calculator, policy analysis tools developed by the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), to demonstrate the basic costs associated with living and working in North Dakota and illustrate the important role of work supports in helping low-income families make ends meet.

March 2011

Drawing on household data from the 2009 American Community Survey and administrative data from the SNAP program, this report compares selected characteristics of immigrant families participating and not participating in the SNAP program with those of native families.

Brief, June 2010

According to the Census Bureau, the number of United States residents aged 5 years and older who speak a language other than English at home has more than doubled since 1980; and fewer than half of this group is fully proficient in English. These trends require specific policy action to support optimal child well-being.

Fact Sheet, February 2010

Through the Making Work Supports Work project, NCCP aims to promote policies that make work pay—with the goal that all full-time workers should be able to provide for their families and that earning more should always improve a family’s financial bottom line. This project description highlights key findings and points the way toward policy reforms.

Brief, February 2010

This brief explores the concept of asset poverty and estimates the proportion of families who are asset poor, then examines the debt and financial assets of families with children.

Report, January 2010

Work supports can close the gap between low earnings and basic expenses, but working more does not always pay as families lose eligibility for critical supports. This report finds that small increases in family income can trigger sharp reductions in benefits, leaving some families no better off – or even worse off.

Report, September 2009

Fact Sheet, April 2009

To help inform the national debate on how to improve the health care system, this fact sheet examines current gaps in parents’ access to health coverage, looks at the patchwork of policies that exists across the states, and argues that a national approach is needed.

Brief, March 2009

This brief discusses the benefits of paid family leave, examines existing state-level policies, and provides recommendations for how state policies could be crafted to best serve the needs of low-wage workers and their families.

Brief, March 2009

The Basic Needs Budgets developed by the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) show the cost of basic day-to-day necessities for families with children. Using examples from these bare-bones budgets, this brief examines the question of how much families need to get by and provides insight into the struggles that working families face. Examples are drawn from 12 localities and are based on families with two children; budgets for other family types and localities are available through NCCP’s Basic Needs Budget Calculator.

Fact Sheet, November 2008

Child care is one of the largest expenses working families face in Houston. Using results from NCCP’s Family Resource Simulator, this fact sheet finds that unless families receive help with the cost of care, low-wage working parents are unable to make ends meet.

Report, September 2008

This report analyzes the effectiveness of Iowa’s “work supports” – such as earned income tax credits, public health insurance, and child care assistance. Work supports can close the gap between low earnings and basic expenses, but working more does not always pay as families lose eligibility for critical supports.

Fact Sheet, September 2008

Child care is one of the largest expenses working families face in San Antonio. Using results from NCCP’s Family Resource Simulator, this fact sheet finds that unless families receive help with the cost of care, low-wage working parents are unable to make ends meet.

Report, August 2008

This report tracks state-level policies that help families both avoid and cope with economic hardship. Three categories of policies are examined: work attachment and advancement, income adequacy, and asset development and protection.

Report, November 2007

Using results from NCCP’s Family Resource Simulator, this report illustrates Child Care policy challenges and discusses possible solutions that would better help Colorado’s low- to moderate-income workers meet their child care needs.

Report, October 2007

Commissioned by the Economic Policy Institute for its Agenda for Shared Prosperity, this report describes why work support benefits are critical for low-wage workers. It explains the current state of work supports in the U.S., highlighting the need to address benefit "cliffs" and high marginal tax rates; funding constraints; and participation barriers. The report concludes with a concrete set of proposals for reform at the national level.

Fact Sheet, August 2007

Many of Detroit’s parents struggle to support their children, despite full-time work. This fact sheet shows that work supports—such as the federal Earned Income Tax Credit and child care subsidies—can help. But reforms are needed to ensure that these policies effectively support workers in the transition from low-wage work to economic self-sufficiency.

Fact Sheet, April 2007

More than a third of Illinois' children live in low-income families. This fact sheet shows that although most of these children have employed parents, many families do not receive the work supports that can close the gap between resources and expenses.

Report, April 2007

Using the Family Resource Simulator, Supporting Work in Illinois shows how benefit losses can outweigh increases in earnings. In all localities discussed, and in both single- and two-parent families, workers face similar challenges as they try to get ahead. The report offers policy strategies that better reward work.

Fact Sheet, November 2006

More than a third of Michigan’s children live in low-income families. This fact sheet looks at employment and the use of work support benefits among low-income families in Michigan as a whole and also in Detroit. It finds that most low-income children have employed parents, but many families do not receive the work supports that can close the gap between resources and expenses.

Brief, June 2006

This brief informs policymakers and others about the difficulties faced by low-income working parents as they strive to make progress in the workforce. Based on results from NCCP’s Family Resource Simulator, When Work Doesn’t Pay highlights ways in which the current structure of work support policies often leads to unintended consequences.

Fact Sheet, May 2006

This fact sheet shows that families in New York are struggling despite small family sizes and high rates of parental employment. More than two out of every five children in New York State live in low-income families. Low-income rates are even higher in New York City, where more than half of the children live in low-income families.

Brief, April 2005

Federal budget proposals put forth by President Bush and the U.S. Congress call for dramatic cuts to programs that assist low-income families and their children. The majority of these families have at least one parent who works full time, yet they still struggle to make ends meet. This brief uses NCCP’s Family Resource Simulator to illustrate how proposed cuts in vital work supports—Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance, and child care—will affect these families.