The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

More Federal Medicaid Funding Needed to Protect Home- and Community-Based Services

Fri, 05/15/2020 - 10:59am

To help prevent cuts to home- and community-based services (HCBS), policymakers should substantially raise the federal government’s share of state Medicaid costs (the “FMAP”), as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s new economic relief proposal would do. The bill also includes an important, targeted FMAP increase for HCBS, and both policies are needed to ensure that seniors and people with disabilities can access these services.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Provisions: What They Mean for Access to SNAP, Medicaid, and TANF

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 3:29pm
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In response to the COVID-19 public health and economic crises, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included three expansions of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits:

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Pelosi Bill Includes Much-Needed Medicaid Funding for States

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 5:43pm

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s coronavirus relief bill provides a much-needed Medicaid funding boost to help states preserve health coverage and address massive state budget shortfalls stemming from the public health and economic crises.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Medicaid “Maintenance of Effort” Protections Crucial to Preserving Coverage

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 5:32pm

States received a temporary increase in federal Medicaid funding in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. In exchange, they can’t impose new Medicaid eligibility restrictions or take away people’s coverage during the public health emergency — requirements referred to as “maintenance of effort” (MOE) protections.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

What the 2020 Trustees’ Report Shows About Social Security

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 5:07pm

Absent the COVID-19 pandemic, the near-term outlook for the Social Security trust funds would have changed very little in the past year.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Food Security Impacts on People of Color Highlight Need for Aid

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 1:41pm

The health risks and hardship due to rapidly rising food insecurity during the pandemic and economic crisis, which we discussed here, are falling disproportionately on people of color and people with low incomes.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

House Bill Provides Vital Housing Aid, But More Vouchers Needed

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 12:55pm

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s coronavirus relief bill includes urgently needed funds to help low-income people rent safe, stable housing during the pandemic and deep economic downturn. Without this aid, many could face eviction and homelessness, exposing them to hardship and health risks. The final bill that the President and Congress enact should include these rental assistance funds and add more resources for Housing Choice Vouchers to help more people with the lowest incomes.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Greenstein: Pelosi Package Would Provide Essential Support for Economy, Relief to Households

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 3:02pm

The severity and scope of the crisis require a robust response that matches the challenge. The Pelosi package, while not perfect, steps up to the plate and provides the type of response the nation needs.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Payroll Tax Cut Is Poor Stimulus

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 2:35pm

Other stimulus measures that would be highly effective, and for which there is great need, should not be held hostage to a poorly conceived payroll tax cut proposal.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

People Already Facing Opportunity Barriers Hit Hardest by Massive April Job Losses

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 10:06am

Most of the jobs lost in the first two months of the sharp economic downturn — most of which came in April — have occurred in industries that pay low average wages. As a result, the deep downturn has hit hardest at workers who already faced barriers to economic opportunity, including Latino and Black workers, workers without a bachelor’s degree, and immigrants, our analysis shows.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

COVID-19 Surveys Show Rapidly Rising Food Needs

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 2:19pm

Early data on rising food insecurity during the pandemic and deep economic crisis reveal how widespread the hardship is becoming, underscoring the need for a robust policy response — including raising maximum SNAP (food stamp) benefits and fixing SNAP limitations in the relief measures enacted thus far.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Pandemic TANF Assistance Act Will Provide Much-Needed Aid, Protections to Families With the Least

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 1:08pm

The health and economic burdens of COVID-19 are falling disproportionately on people of color and people with very low incomes — who faced significant economic and health challenges before the pandemic — and the new Pandemic TANF Assistance Act would provide financial assistance to many of these families and protection from the negative consequences of previous policies.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

In Case You Missed It ...

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 5:47pm

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

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Puerto Rico Needs More Food Aid to Better Respond to COVID-19

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 4:53pm

With millions of Americans struggling to meet their basic food needs in light of COVID-19, states are using new options to support households through SNAP (food stamps) and school meal replacement programs. But Puerto Rico — which was already at a relative disadvantage when the pandemic began — can’t use the same new tools and options.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

Temporarily Expanding Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit Would Deliver Effective Stimulus, Help Avert Poverty Spike

Fri, 05/08/2020 - 4:33pm

The next fiscal stimulus package should include specific expansions of the CTC and EITC that would deliver well-timed, high “bang-for-the-buck” economic stimulus to millions of low-income households.

Categories: Benefits, Poverty

States Can Make Applications More Accessible During COVID-19 Crisis

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

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

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

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

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


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