Lessons From New Hope: Updating the Social Contract for Working Families

The COVID-19 public health and economic crisis made employment more scarce and exacerbated long-standing challenges—like access to quality child care—for millions of workers, particularly workers who are Black and Brown. This brief, published in partnership with Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, shares the success story of Milwaukee’s New Hope Project—a program with a package of work-based supports that included subsidized jobs, earnings supplements, affordable health care, and child care. New Hope provides a blueprint for creating holistic, work-based approaches that significantly improve employment and family outcomes for participants and their communities, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Subsidized Employment Programs

Subsidized employment programs—programs that use public funds to create temporary job opportunities—have positive impacts on employment and earnings for people facing barriers to employment. This workbook provides a detailed look at dozens of federal and state subsidized employment programs spanning over half a century, synthesizes evaluation data, and offers a resource for policymakers and advocates interested in subsidized employment as an equity-advancing response to unemployment.

No Choice: The Implications of Unmet Child Care Needs For Unemployment Assistance & Paid Leave Access During The COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the growing need for child care, paid leave, and unemployment assistance, but many state and federal unemployment assistance and paid leave programs fail to account for the child care needs of working families. This project chronicles and analyzes state-by-state policies on the availability of wage replacements for workers without child care. The table lists policies on the availability of unemployment assistance and paid leave by state, including D.C. and territories, including definitions of school “closures” for regular and pandemic unemployment assistance eligibility, work search requirements, and working documentation of state paid leave programs.

Matching Timing To Need: Refundable Tax Credit Disbursement Options

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.

Claiming Unemployment Benefits While Receiving Social Security Administration Disability Payments

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.