CLASP Work Supports Newsletter - April 2013

April 30, 2013


Work Supports Newsletter
April 2013


In this Issue:

CLASP Webinars

CLASP Reports & Publications

CLASP In Focus Blog Postings

If you have news you want to share with your colleagues around the country in this Newsletter, let us know.



Webinar on Innovative City and State Funding Approaches to Supporting Transitional Jobs & Subsidized Employment Programs

The webinar is the first of a series that highlights the joint paper by the National Transitional Jobs Network at Heartland Alliance and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). Innovative City and State Funding Approaches to Supporting Subsidized Employment and Transitional Jobs provides suggestions and examples of innovative funding strategies for subsidized job programs to cities, states, and other public-sector entities that are considering or have decided to implement or expand subsidized employment programming.

Access the recorded webinar here >>

Testimony on Family and Education Tax Credits

APR 15, 2013

Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Julie Strawn provided testimony before the Education and Family Benefits Working Group of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on tax preferences in federal policy.

CLASP discussed the

  • tradeoffs of providing benefits through the tax code;
  • extending 2009 improvements to the EITC and CTC;
  • improving the EITC for childless adults, including non-custodial parents; and
  • reforming education tax credits

Read the Testimony here >>

Immigration Bill Envisions Path to Citizenship

APR 23, 2013

By Helly Lee

Last week, the bipartisan Senate "Gang of 8" introduced S. 744the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. If enacted, this bill would be the largest scale change to immigration laws in over 25 years.

One of the major hallmarks of the bill is that it provides a path to citizenship for aspiring citizens, many of whom have lived and worked in this country for many years. Other key elements of the bill include border security measures, reforms to family- and employment-based immigration policies, and interior enforcement measures including the requirement, phased in over 5 years, for all employers to use  an Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification System (EEVS) to ensure that all newly hired employees are legally eligible to work in the U.S.

Read more >> 

This Week in Poverty - TANF: A Good News Story From the States

APR 19, 2013

Guest post by Elizabeth Lower-Basch

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)—the program created by welfare reform in 1996—is a flexible block grant, meaning that while the federal government sets some general rules, states have been given an enormous amount of control, both over the ways that they spend the federal funds they receive and over the rules that they set for families receiving TANF cash assistance. This flexibility results in an enormous amount of variation from state to state.

Most of the time, when I see an article about a state legislative proposal that affects TANF cash assistance, it’s about something bad that is happening. Outrage drives people to forward the article to their friends, to press the share button or to retweet. This is helpful—for example, the public outrage over the Tennessee proposal to punish families for children’s failure at school by cutting benefits led to the sponsor withdrawing the bill. But the good things that some state legislators are trying to do in TANF don’t always get as much attention. So, this week, I’m highlighting some of the positive developments in the states.

Read more >>

Highlighting State EITC Efforts on Tax Day

APR 15, 2013

By Helly Lee and Lavanya Mohan

It’s tax day and for many months now, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites across the country have assisted working families with their taxes in time to meet today’s deadline. By filing taxes, many low-wage workers and families are able to get important refundable tax credits.  Among these is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC),  one of the nation's largest anti-poverty programs, which helped  more than 27 million families and individuals in 2012 and has far-reaching work, income and health benefits for its recipients. In fact, EITC lifted 6 million people out of poverty in 2011, according to the latest Supplemental Poverty Measure.

Read more >>

Supporting School Success for Children Receiving TANF

APR 03, 2013

By Elizabeth Lower-Basch

This week, committees in the Tennessee legislature approved a bill that would cut parents' TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) cash assistance benefits if their children failed to be promoted to the next grade at school.  This proposal is based on an inaccurate and stereotyped belief that poor parents need to be coerced into caring about their children's school achievement.  If enacted, it will create new paperwork burdens for schools and welfare agencies, already straining under budget cuts.  Most importantly, it risks pushing the most vulnerable children even deeper into poverty.

If legislators really want to improve educational outcomes for children whose families receive TANF, here are some policies that would actually make a difference.

Read more >>

States Strengthen Work Support Strategies in First Year of Initiative

APR 03, 2013

By Christine Johnson-Staub

In the midst of tighter budgets and cuts in benefits spending, some states are focusing on more effective administration of public benefits that support working families. They're doing so because they know that these benefits, which include programs focused on nutrition, health care and child care, help families become and stay employed and promote children's success in school and life. By streamlining eligibility processes and cutting red tape for these programs, states can reduce administrative costs and make it less daunting for working families to get the help they need.

Read More >>

Reports & Publications from Colleague Organizations


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The Work Supports Newsletter is a monthly update that summarizes CLASP's work on safety net programs that include cash assistance (TANF), nutrition supports (SNAP), refundable tax credits, health insurance, child support enforcement and child care subsidies.

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