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Use of the Earned Income Tax Credit Among People with Disabilities Presented by: Nanette Goodman, Independent Consultant Paper coauthored with: Michael.

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Presentation on theme: "Use of the Earned Income Tax Credit Among People with Disabilities Presented by: Nanette Goodman, Independent Consultant Paper coauthored with: Michael."— Presentation transcript:

1 Use of the Earned Income Tax Credit Among People with Disabilities Presented by: Nanette Goodman, Independent Consultant Paper coauthored with: Michael Morris, Syracuse University Debra Brucker, University of New Hampshire State-of-the-Science: Advancing Evidence-Based Practices and Policies to Close the Employment Gap Washington, DC April 9, 2014

2 Overview EITC is refundable tax credit Sliding level of benefit based on EARNED INCOME and number of children One of the largest safety net programs (2012) Beneficiaries (in millions) Expenditures (in billions) Food Stamps47$80 EITC27$63 SSI7.9$49 TANF1.9 (families)$31

3 Why it is important to look at the use of the EITC among people with disabilities NOW Some suggest expanding the EITC rather than raising the minimum wage as a way to help the working poor. Obamas 2015 budget proposal includes changes to the EITC Double the current EITC for childless workers. Reduce the minimum age a taxpayer is eligible to receive this credit from 25 years to 21 years. Increase the maximum age from 65 to 67

4 Stated Goals of the EITC Reduce poverty, especially childhood poverty Reduce reliance on welfare programs, Provide an incentive to work by subsidizing low wages, and Provide relief from regressive payroll taxes.

5 Features of the EITC Refundable The credit is available to all individuals and couples, regardless of age, who have qualifying children. – BUT…the benefit is not available to workers under age 25 or over 65 who do not have qualifying children. The benefit for workers without qualifying children is minimal. – The definition of qualifying child is a bit complicated by is basically a related child under age 19 who lives with the adult at least half the year. In 23 states, workers that qualify for the federal EITC can also claim a refundable credit on state income taxes.

6 Earned Income Tax Credit for couples filing jointly, 2012

7 Features specifically relevant to workers with disabilities Social Security Disability Insurance, SSI, or military disability pensions are not considered earned income and cannot be used to claim the EITC Receipt of the EITC does not generally reduce the workers access to other benefits. – Federal and state EITC payments are not considered as income for most public benefits including Medicaid, SSI, SSDI, Food Stamps, or federally assisted housing programs. – BUT… treatment of EITC payments in calculating assets varies across programs and states..

8 Limitations of the EITC for workers with disabilities The EITC has limited value for people without qualifying children. Transition-age workers without children are ineligible for the EITC. The inconsistent and confusing calculations of whether EITC refunds count as assets for other safety net programs may discourage savings. Evidence suggests that the EITC puts downward pressure on wages (Leigh 2010)

9 Method Analysis of the March 2012 Current Population Survey. LimitationCPS imputes the value of the EITC – Underestimates the number of people and the value of the benefit overall – Does not allow analysis of the take-up rate

10 Average EITC use among people with and without disabilities age by Poverty Level, 2012 Percent eligible for the EITC** Average amount of EITC among eligibles With Disability No Disability With Disability No Disability All10%11%$1,301$2,073 Income as a Percent of the Poverty Level Under 100%14%31%$1,248$2, %-150%17%35%$1,736$2, %-200%16%25%$1,354$1,844 Over 200%4%3%$846$1,218

11 60% of EITC eligibles with disabilities benefit by less than $500/yr

12 Intersection between the structure of the EITC and characteristics of people with disabilities The EITC offers a much larger benefit for workers with qualifying children than for those with either no children or children who are older than 19. – Low income people with disabilities tend to be older and are less likely to have qualifying children. The amount of the credit is calculated as a percentage of wages or earned income. – Low income people with disabilities are more likely to receive income from Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and Veterans benefits and other sources that cannot be counted in the calculation so the benefits are a much lower percentage of their total income.

13 Conclusions As currently structured, the EITC is not as effective an anti-poverty or work incentive program for people with disabilities as it is for low income people without disabilities.

14 Recommendations Disability advocacy groups should guard against efforts to increase the EITC as an alternative to raising the minimum wage unless the credit for childless workers is expanded.

15 Recommendations Expand the EITC amount for workers without qualifying children. Lower the age of eligibility to 18 for all youth with and without disabilities to build behaviors that support work and reduced reliance on social security benefits. Permanently disregard an EITC refund from any public benefit resource testing and thus encourage long term saving.


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