Economic Opportunity

Kaiser Permanente partners with United Way on Benefits Cliff Study

Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States is proud to be the lead sponsor of both the United Way of Central Maryland’s updated, groundbreaking ALICE report and its new companion, the Benefits Cliff Study. They each present the fragile state of poor working families, a fragility that has been acutely exacerbated by the pandemic. The ALICE families live at or below the federal poverty line and supplement household income with support from much needed publicly subsidized benefits. Many of these families become trapped in a cycle of poverty when additional income results in losing eligibility for public benefits. When the decrease in benefits exceeds the increase in household income, ALICE families experience the Benefits Cliff. The Benefits Cliff Study documents the impact of this phenomenon on Maryland families, and recommends a policy agenda to help alleviate the issue. Recommendations include: Housing : Advocate for legislation to protect tenants from predatory eviction processes and expand access to Housing Navigators, who will assist families in finding shelter and other social support.

Education : Advocate to strengthen childcare by providing financial aid to providers impacted by the pandemic, and by protecting the current eligibility bands for the childcare subsidy program.

Employment : Advocate for legislation to align increases in the minimum wage to keep pace with rising costs of living. Expand TANF eligibility to support two-parent households.

Health : Advocate for the restoration of the Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board. Expand school-based health centers to all Maryland jurisdictions. Promote and expand the use of the ACA Easy Enrollment Program across the state.

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