Refundable tax credits are powerful tools for advancing economic security and opportunity, reducing poverty, and improving the lives of families in need. Despite their successes, these tax credits are limited by a key misalignment: unaffordable living expenses, unstable pay, and persistent hardship are experienced consistently or unpredictably throughout the year, unlike the single annual tax credit disbursement. This report provides a framework for policymakers and advocates seeking to create periodic payment options that align tax credit disbursement timing to need and advance economic, racial, and gender equity. The report also outlines specific periodic payment design recommendations for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, including flexible disbursement options.
COVID-19 response legislation greatly strengthened and expanded the dollar amount, duration, and coverage of unemployment assistance. These changes have prompted questions about the implications for workers receiving disability benefits. This brief discusses the interaction between disability benefits and unemployment assistance and clarifies benefits that unemployed workers can receive through pandemic-related unemployment assistance. It is published jointly with Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, The Arc, Association of University Centers on Disabilities, The Century Foundation, and The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities.
Subsidized employment is a promising and proven strategy for creating more equitable and accessible pathways to stable employment for all—especially people facing serious barriers to employment. A review of 40 years of subsidized employment programs found that subsidized employment models can increase incomes and employment, reduce involvement with the criminal justice system, improve the psychological well-being of participants and their families, and reduce long-term poverty. This resource highlights the broad range of occupations that have been made available through subsidized employment programs.
A Tax Code for the Rest of Us: A Framework & Recommendations for Advancing Gender & Racial Equity Through Tax Credits
This report, published jointly with the National Women’s Law Center, offers a new vision for a tax code that works for women, people of color, and low- and moderate-income families. Centuries of racist, sexist policy choices and discrimination have created significant barriers for women and people of color to build the kind of wealth our tax code now rewards. At the same time, insufficient tax revenues—exacerbated by tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations—constrain budgets for programs that help people afford their basic needs. The paper proposes a framework to help policymakers, advocates, and the public evaluate when and how refundable tax credits can advance equity, economic mobility, and opportunity for all.
In this joint report with Mental Health America, we present a new approach to mental health and substance use care and treatment in the United States. The report introduces a whole-family, whole-community behavioral health approach: a vision of a society that adequately supports mental health, physical health, and social and financial well-being. The report offers leaders in the health care, educational, criminal justice, child welfare and other systems a united policy agenda to ultimately improve health and economic opportunity.