SNAP and Medicaid and Work Requirements

  • Food stamp eligibility’s tie to labor divisive, By Beth Walton, September 29, 2015, Citizen-Times: “Some North Carolinians in need will have to work a little harder to maintain food stamp benefits come January. Undoing eight years of state policy, Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration is requiring that childless, able-bodied adults ages 18 to 49 meet time-sensitive work requirements to continue receiving food assistance…”
  • Should Medicaid recipients have to work?, By Michael Ollove, September 30, 2015, Stateline: “If Arizona gets its way, its able-bodied, low-income adults will face the toughest requirements in the country to receive health care coverage through Medicaid. Most of those Medicaid recipients, and new applicants, would have to have a job, be looking for one or be in job training to qualify for the joint federal-state program for the poor. They would have to contribute their own money to health savings accounts, which they could tap into only if they met work requirements or engaged in certain types of healthy behavior, such as completing wellness physical exams or participating in smoking cessation classes. And most recipients would be limited to just five years of coverage as adults…”

September 2015 US Unemployment Rate

Jobs report is lackluster, raising concern on economy’s course, By Patricia Cohen, October 2, 2015, New York Times: “Employers added a mere 142,000 jobs in September, the government said Friday, casting a shadow on the nation’s economy in a Labor Department report that analysts variously described as ‘dreadful,’ ‘a body blow’ and ‘grim.’ Adding to the gloom, the agency revised August’s employment numbers sharply downward, showing that only 136,000 jobs were created that month, well below the 173,000 originally estimated. The two consecutive weak reports pointed to a loss of momentum for the American economy over the summer…”

Health Insurance Coverage for Former Foster Youth

Many former foster youths don’t know they have health care, By Ray Glier, October 1, 2015, National Public Radio: “Laticia Aossey was flat on her back in an Iowa hospital bed with a tube up her nose, a needle for a peripheral IV stuck in one arm and monitors pasted to her body. It was early June 2014, a week after her 18th birthday, when a friend brought Aossey’s mail from home — including one ominous letter. Aossey’s health insurance was about to be discontinued…”

Intergenerational Poverty – Utah

Modest gains highlight Utah program to break intergenerational poverty, By Christopher Smart, October 1, 2015, Salt Lake Tribune: “Children are the key to breaking the chain of poverty that keeps families in economic distress for one generation after another. Youngsters who are afforded safe environments, good nutrition and early education in preschool and kindergarten are better equipped to learn as they enter elementary school and more likely to graduate high school and pursue advanced training. That is at the crux of what the Utah Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission set out to do four years ago: find solutions to the plague of poverty handed down from parent to child and so on over decades…”

Court Fines and the Poor – California

California unveils amnesty program for unpaid traffic tickets, By Kurtis Alexander, September 30, 2015, San Francisco Chronicle: “Millions of California motorists with suspended licenses have a chance to win back their driving privileges at a discount, starting Thursday, under a state amnesty program for unpaid traffic tickets. The state is cutting fines by at least half and waiving late fees for payments on tickets that were due before Jan. 1, 2013, an effort to eliminate what Gov. Jerry Brown called a ‘hellhole of desperation’ for those who can’t afford penalties and lost their licenses as a result. Brown signed the amnesty legislation in June. It takes effect Thursday and runs until March 2017…”

Deep Poverty – Philadelphia, PA

Among the 10 largest cities, Philly has highest deep-poverty rate, By Alfred Lubrano, September 30, 2015, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Philadelphia has the highest rate of deep poverty among America’s 10 biggest cities, an examination of federal data by The Inquirer shows. The city is already the poorest in that group. Deep poverty is measured as income of 50 percent or less of the poverty rate. A family of four living in deep poverty takes in $12,000 or less annually, half the poverty rate of $24,000 for a family that size…”

Evictions and Homelessness – New York City

NYC to target evictions in bid to curb homelessness, By Josh Dawsey, September 28, 2015, Wall Street Journal: “As Mayor Bill de Blasio struggles to control rising homelessness in New York, the city plans to hire more lawyers to help financially stressed residents avoid eviction—especially in neighborhoods that are quickly gentrifying. By mid-2017, the city will be spending $60 million annually—up from about $34 million now—on an expanded legal team to address the flow of homeless into an already overburdened shelter system and the number of people living on the streets. The city has found that about 32% of the families in its shelters were evicted from their homes…”

US Children in Foster Care

Number of U.S. children in foster care up sharply, By David Crary (AP), September 24, 2015, Detroit Free Press: “For the first time in a decade, there was a notable increase last year in the number of U.S. children in foster care, according to new federal figures released Wednesday.  The annual report from the Department of Health and Human Services tallied 415,129 children in the foster care system as of September 30, 2014, up from about 401,000 a year earlier. The peak was 524,000 children in foster care in 2002, and the number had dropped steadily since 2005 before rising slightly in 2013…”

Global Poverty Line

Planet’s poor set to swell as World Bank revises poverty line, By Shawn Donnan, September 23, 2015, CNBC: “The World Bank is to make the most dramatic change to its global poverty line in 25 years, raising its measure by a half to about $1.90 per day in a move likely to swell the statistical ranks of the world’s poor by tens of millions…”

Homelessness in Los Angeles

L.A. to declare ‘state of emergency’ on homelessness, commit $100 million, By Peter Jamison, David Zahniser and Matt Hamilton, September 25, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “Acknowledging their failure to stem a surge in homelessness, Los Angeles’ elected leaders on Tuesday said they would declare a ‘state of emergency’ and devote up to $100 million to the problem. But they offered few details about where the money would come from or how it would be spent, leaving some to question the effort’s chances of success. The announcement by seven City Council members and Mayor Eric Garcetti was a powerful signal of growing alarm at City Hall over L.A.’s homeless population, which has risen 12% since 2013, the year Garcetti took office. It coincided with a directive from the mayor Monday evening that the city free up an additional $13 million in the coming months to help house people living on the streets…”

Unemployment Benefits – Florida

Florida’s unemployment benefits ‘virtually inaccessible,’ study finds, By Marcia Heroux Pounds, September 22, 2015, Sun Sentinel: “Fewer than one in eight unemployed workers in Florida receives jobless benefits, the result of a burdensome system that is “virtually inaccessible” for the average person out of work, a new report concludes. Florida, more than nearly any other state, has made it more difficult for laid-off workers to apply and qualify for unemployment benefits, the National Employment Law Project, an advocate for the unemployed, said in a report Tuesday…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Food stamps could be delayed if Congress doesn’t end threat of shutdown, Jeff Merkley says, By Jeff Mapes, September 22, 2015, The Oregonian: “Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow said Tuesday that federal food assistance to the needy could be delayed unless Congress quickly ends the threat of a government shutdown on Oct. 1. The two Democratic senators said the U.S. Department of Agriculture is ordering states to hold off for now on reloading debit cards used by recipients in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps…”

Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014

  • U.S. poverty rate and incomes remained stagnant in 2014, report says, By Don Lee, September 16, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “Despite steady job growth and a sizeable drop in the unemployment rate, the nation’s poverty rate showed no improvement last year, and the typical American household, once again, saw no real gain in income…”
  • Health care gains, but income remains stagnant, the White House reports, By Robert Pear, September 16, 2015, New York Times: “Nearly nine million people gained health insurance last year, lowering the ranks of the uninsured to 10.4 percent of the population. But there was no statistically significant change in income for the typical American household in 2014, the Obama administration said on Wednesday…”
  • Household income, poverty numbers stay about the same, By Jesse J. Holland (AP), September 16, 2015, Christian Science Monitor: “The wallets of America’s middle class and poorest aren’t seeing any extra money, the U.S. Census reported Wednesday, a financial stagnation experts say may be fueling political dissent this campaign season. The Census Bureau, in its annual look at poverty and income in the United States, said both the country’s median income and poverty rate were statistically unchanged in 2014 from the previous year…”
  • American wages remain at 1997 levels as recovery fails to lift middle class, By Jana Kasperkevic, September 16, 2015, The Guardian: “On average Americans are still earning the same wages they were in 1997 and 46.7 million are still living in poverty, seven years after the 2008 crash, according to the US census bureau…”

Health Insurance in the United States: 2014

  • Proportion of Americans without health insurance dropped in 2014, By Amy Goldstein, Scott Clement and Jeff Guo, September 17, 2015, Washington Post: “The proportion of Americans who lack health insurance fell markedly last year, according to new federal figures that provide the strongest evidence to date of how the Affordable Care Act is driving changes in health coverage across the country…”
  • Poverty persists but more have healthcare, By Don Lee, September 16, 2015, Los Angeles Times: “A steadily growing job market and higher minimum-wage laws in pockets of the country failed to reduce the nation’s poverty rate last year or reverse the long-running trend of stagnating incomes for most American households…”
  • Census: Health coverage expands in 2014; poverty, wages stagnate, By Tony Pugh, September 16, 2015, Sacramento Bee: “The share of Americans without health insurance fell to 10.4 percent in 2014 as nearly 9 million people gained health coverage, according to government figures released Wednesday. Thirty-three million Americans lacked health insurance in 2014, down from 41.8 million, or 13.3 percent, in 2013, the annual Census Bureau survey found…”
  • Census report: Levels of uninsured fell dramatically in U.S., Wisconsin, By Guy Boulton, Bill Glauber and Kevin Crowe, September 16, 2015, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “An estimated 8.5 million people nationwide, including 100,000 in Wisconsin, gained health insurance coverage in 2014, the first year that key provisions of the Affordable Care Act went into effect, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The estimates released Wednesday show a historic drop in the uninsured rate to 11.7% nationally and to 7.3% in Wisconsin…”

American Community Survey

  • 1 out of every 2 children in Syracuse lives in poverty, new Census data shows, By Marnie Eisenstadt, September 17, 2015, Syracuse Post-Standard: “Half of the children in Syracuse live in poverty and the city continues to be among the poorest in the nation, according to U.S. Census data released today. The poverty rate in Syracuse for 2014 was 34.4 percent, making it the 16th poorest city among 585 cities in the U.S. with populations greater than 65,000. That’s 49,626 people living in poverty…”
  • Census: Poverty level steady in Philadelphia, drops in Camden, By Alfred Lubrano, September 17, 2015, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Philadelphia remained the poorest of America’s 10 largest cities in 2014, with more than one quarter of its residents – 26 percent – living below the poverty line. At the same time, Camden recorded a seemingly significant drop in poverty in 2014 from 42.6 percent to 36.5 percent – a change experts had a hard time explaining…”
  • Poverty keeps tight grip on Milwaukee, new census figures show, By Bill Glauber and Kevin Crowe, September 16, 2015, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Poverty held a persistent grip on Milwaukee in 2014, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The city’s poverty rate of 29% — unchanged from a year earlier — was nearly double the national rate of 14.8%, leaving Milwaukee as the nation’s fifth most impoverished big city…”
  • Census bureau: Detroit is poorest big city in U.S., By Karen Bouffard, September 17, 2015, Detroit News: “Michigan is among 12 states that saw a decline in the percentage of people living in poverty in 2014 though the state’s poverty rate remained higher than the national average, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Wednesday…”

Unemployment Benefits – Missouri

Missouri lawmakers cut jobless benefits, limit minimum wages, By David A. Lieb, September 17, 2015, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature put a conservative stamp on state employment laws Wednesday, voting to cut unemployment benefits to one of the shortest periods nationally while also outlawing local minimum wage increases…”

SNAP Asset Test – Maine

Maine plans to deny food stamps when applicant’s assets top $5,000, By Noel K. Gallagher and Joe Lawlor, September 16, 2015, Portland Press Herald: “The LePage administration on Wednesday announced a new ‘asset test’ that would make people ineligible for food stamps if they have more than $5,000 in the bank or own certain other items worth more than that amount, such as a snowmobile, boat, motorcycle or ATV. Critics of the rule change say the asset test creates a disincentive for low-income people to save money…”

Living Wage by Region

These are the hardest places for minimum wage workers to live, By Ana Swanson September 14, 2015, Washington Post: “You might have a rough sense that workers who earn the minimum wage in America aren’t making enough to cover the cost of a decent living. But how big is that gap really? A professor at MIT created a new interactive map that shows where it’s hardest for those earning the minimum wage to get by. Amy Glasmeier created a tool called ‘The Living Wage Calculator,’ which shows the hourly rate that an individual needs to earn to support their family for every county in the country…”

Child Poverty in the US

  • The shocking reach of U.S. child poverty, By Aimee Picchi, September 11, 2015, CBS News: “America’s childhood poverty numbers aren’t pretty, but they are even uglier than you might think. Take a snapshot of the U.S. today, and you’ll find that 22 percent of all children live in families that are below the federal poverty level. But what happens when you look at how American children fare throughout their pre-adult lives? It’s nearly twice as bad…”
  • Two in every five U.S. children spend at least a year in poverty, By Nick Timiraos, September 9, 2015, Wall Street Journal: “Childhood poverty is far more prevalent than annual figures suggest, a new paper says, with nearly two in every five U.S. children spending at least one year in poverty before they turn 18 years old. The findings from Caroline Ratcliffe, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, show particularly stark divides along racial lines. Black children fare much worse. Some 75% are poor at some point during their childhood, compared to 30% of white children…”