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Benefits

States Can Make Applications More Accessible During COVID-19 Crisis

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Thu, 05/07/2020 - 4:23pm

The COVID-19 crisis is presenting challenges to people applying for Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps) and — while states have limited ability to substantially modify their systems during the crisis — they can take some steps to make applications more accessible.

Because people can’t apply for Medicaid and SNAP in person due to office closures and social distancing, many people must adapt to a new way of interacting with social service agencies by submitting applications online, through agency call centers, or with the help of community assisters.

States can help them by:

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

States Are Leveraging Medicaid to Respond to COVID-19

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Thu, 05/07/2020 - 12:15pm

"Congress should support states in making these changes by further increasing Medicaid’s federal match rate."Many state Medicaid programs are proposing or implementing new policies to respond to COVID-19 and maintain access to health care during the public health crisis.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Contrary to Arguments, States Need More Federal Relief

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 5:11pm

South Dakota’s Governor Kristi Noem says her state doesn’t need more federal fiscal relief; it just needs the Treasury Department to let it use previously provided relief funds to cover revenue shortfalls. The argument apparently has gained traction among some congressional Republicans.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Long in Recession, Puerto Rico Needs More Than Just COVID-19 Relief to Overcome Its Crises

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 5:00pm

As policymakers consider additional steps nationally to address the pandemic and its economic fallout, they need to take into account Puerto Rico’s unique circumstances.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Future Stimulus Should Include Immigrants and Dependents Previously Left Out, Mandate Automatic Payments

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Wed, 05/06/2020 - 12:41pm

Any subsequent round of payments should extend rebates to people with modest incomes who were previously left out — an estimated 15 million people in immigrant families and 15 million older children and adult tax dependents.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Larger, Longer-Lasting Increases in Federal Medicaid Funding Needed to Protect Coverage

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 11:07am

Medicaid is central to the health care system’s response to the current public health and economic crises. Millions more people will likely enroll in Medicaid in coming months because of the recession, the large majority of whom would otherwise become uninsured. For example, Urban Institute researchers estimate Medicaid enrollment will increase by 8 to 14 million people (16 to 29 percent) if unemployment climbs to 15 percent, consistent with estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and other forecasters.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Administration Should Reverse Anti-Immigrant Policies That Will Worsen Impacts of Health and Economic Crises

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 11:05am

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis have hit immigrants and their families especially hard, and Trump Administration policies and rhetoric are only deepening the harm.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Protect, Bolster TANF Cash Assistance Amid State Fiscal Crisis, Rising Need

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 10:00am

As states’ revenues plummet and they shift resources to fight the public health crisis, state officials will be looking for ways to fill their budget shortfalls and meet their balanced-budget requirements. In the face of extreme and growing hardship created by the COVID-19 pandemic and deep economic downturn, states shouldn’t use Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to help balance their budgets as they did during the Great Recession.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

State Emergency Assistance Fund Could Help Families Facing Significant Challenges Avoid Increased Hardship

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 12:27pm

Amid COVID-19 and the resulting economic fallout, states will need additional resources to provide basic income assistance and emergency aid to families and individuals facing severe economic hardship. A flexible emergency fund targeted to families and individuals with the lowest incomes, modeled on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund during the Great Recession, could help provide such aid.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Putting the Size of the Needed COVID-19 Fiscal Response in Perspective

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 10:20am

The severe and unprecedented size of the health, human, and economic crisis caused by COVID-19 should determine the size of the legislative response.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

In Case You Missed It...

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Fri, 05/01/2020 - 4:42pm

The Center mourns the loss of Paul Rudd, an esteemed member of CBPP’s Board of Directors since 2008, who passed away this week at age 47.

This week at CBPP, we focused on COVID-19 and the economy.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Loans No Substitute for Direct Aid to Help States Weather COVID Recession

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Thu, 04/30/2020 - 4:31pm

Some Administration officials are arguing that states don’t urgently need more direct federal relief because they can borrow from the new Federal Reserve program to buy public and private debt, but that argument makes no sense.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Center on Budget Mourns the Loss of Paul Rudd

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Wed, 04/29/2020 - 4:57pm

We are extraordinarily saddened to report that Paul Rudd, an esteemed member of CBPP’s Board of Directors since 2008, passed away suddenly yesterday in New York at the age of 47.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Boost Safety Net to Help People With Fewest Resources Pay for Basics During Crisis

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Wed, 04/29/2020 - 11:16am

There is an urgent need to increase funds for housing, food, health, and income assistance to individuals and families that tend to experience the worst health, housing, and employment outcomes.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

New CBO Projections Suggest Even Bigger State Shortfalls

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Tue, 04/28/2020 - 5:10pm

State budget shortfalls from COVID-19’s economic fallout could total $650 billion over three years, we estimate based on new economic projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and updated projections from Goldman Sachs. The new figures — significantly higher than estimates we recently issued based on economic projections of a month ago — increase the urgency that policymakers enact additional federal fiscal relief and continue it as long as economic conditions warrant.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

IRS Stimulus Glitches Show Cost of Earlier Cuts

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Tue, 04/28/2020 - 12:09pm

IRS workers deserve tremendous credit for delivering — in just weeks — 88 million stimulus payments during a pandemic. But the IRS’ challenges in doing so make clear that years of ill-advised funding cuts have left the agency understaffed and technologically out of date. Those challenges should serve as a wake-up call to policymakers on the importance of investing in core government functions like the IRS.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

In Case You Missed It...

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Fri, 04/24/2020 - 2:44pm

This week at CBPP, we focused on COVID-19, health, Social Security, food assistance, and the economy.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Urgent Need for More Housing Vouchers, Other Rental Assistance Amid Pandemic

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Fri, 04/24/2020 - 11:28am

Upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation should place a high priority on protecting people experiencing homelessness and low-income renters.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

McConnell Argument Against State Fiscal Relief Doesn’t Stand Up

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities - Thu, 04/23/2020 - 1:06pm

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defends his opposition to more fiscal relief for state and local governments by arguing that it would just “bail out” states that have mismanaged their finances, particularly their state employee pension systems. That’s far off base. In reality, states would use the money to avoid massive layoffs and deep spending cuts due to the public health emergency and its economic effects.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

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