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Www.clasp.org Benefits101 Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield Senior Policy Analyst.

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Presentation on theme: "Www.clasp.org Benefits101 Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield Senior Policy Analyst."— Presentation transcript:

1 Benefits101 Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield Senior Policy Analyst

2 Eligible Students  Student parents  Childless students Programs  Food assistance  Health insurance  Tax credits  Family programs  Special cases Improving Access 2

3 3 TANF SNAP (Food Stamps) EITC Housing Vouchers Child Care Subsidies Child Support Medicaid CHIP Child Tax Credit WIC SSI Veterans Benefits Pell Grants Social Security Unemployment Insurance

4 Tuition, books and fees reflect only 1/3 of total annual cost of attendance for community college students when living and transportation costs are included College students have substantial unmet financial need even after financial aid (roughly $6,000/year) Financial aid generally not available for non- credit classes WIA rarely provides needs-based payment 4

5 5 Unmet Need Too much work Failure to complete Stress Housing and food insecurity Too little sleep Part-time enrollment Too little studying Poor grades

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7 Eligible for wide range of programs  Some programs are limited to families with children  Others are open to childless adults, but are more generous or have fewer restrictions for parents Few receive all programs they are eligible for:  Some programs have capped funding  Eligible individuals may not know about programs, or may be deterred by the burden of establishing and maintaining eligibility 7

8 Likely to receive (> 80%) EITC Health insurance for kids (and parents in expansion states) Probably receive (50-80%) Health insurance for parents (not expansion states) SNAP (Food Stamps) and WIC Might receive (<50%) TANF, child care subsidies, housing subsidies 8

9 Probably receive (50-80%) EITC  Only eligible if aged  max of $496 per year SNAP (Food Stamps)  Students are subject to extra rules Might receive (<50%) Housing subsidies Public health insurance (depends upon if reside in expansion state) 9

10 Legal immigrants are disqualified from receiving many federal public benefits for 5 years after entry into US. Citizen children are eligible for benefits even if their parents are undocumented, but mixed status families are often nervous about providing information to government. Rules are complicated, with many exceptions and qualifications. 10

11 Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Health Insurance – Medicaid and CHIP American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Family programs: TANF, child care, WIC, school lunch Special cases: disability, veterans, housing, unemployment 11

12 TANF cash assistance Child care subsidies Housing assistance Why low participation? Capped funding Child care and housing: capped enrollment TANF: Stigma, burdensome requirements, and time limits restrict participation 12

13 34 percent of eligible parents do not receive Medicaid/CHIP. 33 percent of eligible working poor families do not receive SNAP. Child care subsidies (capped dollars) reach about 30 percent of eligible families. Even fewer get continuous coverage, because families “churn.” Very few get the whole package. Participation rates vary greatly by state.

14 Available to poor households Provides monthly allotment via EBT to buy groceries Maximum monthly amount is  $194 for a household of 1  $497 for a household of 3 False perception that it is not available to students 14

15 Students are eligible if they meet income, asset criteria and any of the following apply:  Caring for a child under age 6;  Single parent caring for a child 6-11 and enrolled full- time, or unable to obtain child care;  Working for pay at least 20 hours per week;  Receiving any work-study funds;  Receiving TANF benefits;  Unable to work because of disability; OR  Enrolled in certain programs aimed at employment. 15

16 SNAP Employment and Training Services funded under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Other programs, at state discretion:  Massachusetts uses Perkins Act criteria as way to determine which community college programs are aimed at employment. 16 See:

17 Low-income children and pregnant women are highly likely to be eligible under either Medicaid or CHIP, and probably are already enrolled. Under the ACA, low income adults under 133% of FPL are eligible for Medicaid in states that have expanded. ACA purchase of marketplace subsidies starts at 100% of FPL. 17 Young adults (under 26) can be covered by their parents’ health insurance.

18 Beginning January 1, 2014, many states expanded Medicaid to all non-elderly adults and children up to 133% of the federal poverty level  $14,484 for an individual  $29,725 for a family of four in 2011  Arkansas, California, and Washington expanded Medicaid CHIP continues at 2009 eligibility levels (at least for a while)

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21 Partially refundable tax credit for post-secondary education expenses Students receive credit when they fill out taxes the following year Expanded version of the HOPE tax credit for tax years through 2017  Will revert to non-refundable HOPE credit if Congress does not extend AOTC 21

22 Equal to 100 percent of the first $2,000 spent and 25 percent of the next $2,000 per student each year. Maximum of $2,500 credit for $4,000 or more in qualifying expenses Forty percent of the credit is refundable – up to $1,000 for each eligible student as cash back. Covers tuition, fees, books, but not living expenses, for first 4 years of post-secondary education. 22

23 Refundable credit based on earnings Large credit for low- income workers with children  Full-time students under 24 can be claimed as “children” by their parents Small credit for low- income workers without children  Not available for childless workers under age 24 23

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25 Providing free tax filing assistance can:  Help students get the tax credits they’ve earned  Provide students (and community residents) an alternative to high-fee for-profit tax agencies  Bring students into a benefit access program  Help students fill out the FAFSA early and correctly 25 Logistics are different than year- round benefit activities – high volume, tight timeframe  Community partners  Accounting students can receive training, credit

26 Programs specifically for families with children TANF Child care WIC School lunch 26

27 Provides ongoing cash assistance to very low- income parents, but benefits are low 27

28 Benefits can be significant support, especially in higher benefit states TANF is often a reliable gateway to child care subsidies, other public benefits But access to education and training may be limited, depending on state policies 28

29 Can allow people to participate in education and training, even when not countable towards federal work rates Can use TANF funds to provide work-study jobs to meet work requirement –  Kentucky Ready to Work Can document hours of participation in ways that do not burden, stigmatize students  Hours can be documented by on-site case manager, student support services office, not just professors 29

30 Center-based child care is more expensive than tuition at most public colleges Low-income college students may be eligible for child care subsidies  Postsecondary allowable activity in 43 states and DC  But, may require work as well, be limited to certain types of courses  Only about 1 in 7 eligible children are served  Waiting list or capped enrollment in most states 30

31 Serves pregnant, post-partum and breastfeeding women, and children up to age 5 Provides infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried and canned beans/peas, and canned fish States set eligibility limits, but must be between 100% and 185% of poverty level. Must be individually determined to be at “nutrition risk” by a health professional 31

32 Eligible for free meals if family income under 130% of poverty level, reduced price meals if family income under 185% of poverty level Automatically eligible for free meals if any member of family is receiving SNAP or TANF benefits. Eligibility is typically determined at start of school year, but families can apply later if their circumstances change High-poverty schools or districts can qualify for universal coverage through community eligibility. 32

33 Veterans’ programs Disability programs Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trade Adjustment Act (TAA) Workforce Investment Act (WIA) 33

34 VirginiaWashington Maximum Monthly TANF Grant for Family with No Income $320$478 Maximum Monthly Income for Parent to Qualify to Medicaid $808$2,193 Maximum Monthly Income for a Non-Parent Adult to Qualify for Medicaid $0$2,193 Estimated Rate of SNAP Participation by Eligible Individuals (as of 2011) 79%100% Maximum Monthly Income for Family to Receive Child Care Subsidy $2,387-3,978$3,252 34

35 Most benefits are not counted as income for purposes of financial aid Receipt of TANF, SNAP, WIC, free or reduced price school lunches, and SSI triggers the simplified Expected Family Contribution (EFC) formula – assets are not considered. Receiving these benefits plus family income below threshold triggers automatic zero EFC. 35

36 Client must… know that program exists believe that she might be eligible believe that benefit is worth the (perceived) hassle of applying know how to apply locate and submit any needed documentation for initial eligibility or recertification actually submit an application (in office, or via mail, phone or online interface) 36

37 37 For more information: Amy Ellen Duke-Benfield CLASP th St., NW Suite 200 Washington, DC 20036


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