How the pandemic safety net reduced child poverty

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Also, a look at medical debt and poverty.

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Child poverty is down thanks to safety net programs

It turns out that the influx of federal and local spending to help families during the pandemic was exactly what was needed to combat the stagnant child poverty rate. Vox reports that policies such as the expansion of the child care tax credit, two rounds of stimulus checks and, eventually, eviction moratoriums have dramatically reduced the percentage of children living in poverty.

The reconfiguration and strengthening of safety net programs has been essential to avert what could have been a sharp increase in child poverty. An analysis by the The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that, had it not been for the pandemic response, child poverty in 2020 would have seen the second largest recorded increase in US history. This matches figures from the US Census Bureau, which show that the combination of stimulus payments lifted around 3 million children out of poverty.

14 states receive grants to fight under-minimum wage

When the minimum wage was first introduced in the Fair Labor Standards Act 1938, it excluded several key groups of workers, including those working as domestics and agricultural workers (mainly people of color) as well than people with disabilities. exclusion, as Teen Vogue explains, was incorporated into legislation as a compromise to overcome the bipartisan impasse.

The law allows employees to pay people with disabilities less than the minimum wage, even for the same work. This is why many disabled workers are increasingly becoming part of the so-called “fight for $15”, Teen Vogue Notes.

During this time, the The US Department of Education announced that it had awarded $177 million in 14 different states through 14 unique “vocational rehabilitation” programs. The Competitive Embedded Employment Lower Wage grant funds will be used to develop business models and practices that would enable people with disabilities to become more competitive candidates for work – and receive decent pay raises.

Medical debt remains pervasive, even among US policyholders

New research published in the JAMA Network Open journal found that one in five US households has medical debt, even among those privately insured. The analysis found that between 2016 and 2019, about 10.8% of adults had medical debt, including 10.5% of privately insured people and 9.6% of people living in Medicaid expansion states.

The study found that significant factors in medical debt include declining health status and loss of coverage. In many cases, these factors also influenced individuals’ ability to obtain housing and food, sometimes by 1.7 to 3.1 times.

BNC News reports that while the new study found that people without insurance were still at the greatest risk of having medical debt, the results differed in other equally wealthy countries. “The kinds of things we saw in our study are virtually non-existent in most other wealthy countries,” said lead author David Himmelstein.

Marielle Argueza is an intern at INN/Columbia Journalism School in Next City for Summer-Fall 2022. She is a New York-based journalist with over ten years of experience. His beats have included education, immigration, labor, criminal justice and climate. Her work in K-12 education is award-winning and she has been recognized multiple times by the California News Publishers Association. She is a recent graduate of Columbia Journalism School, where she was a Toni Stabile Investigative Fellow. While earning her master’s degree, she relied on her extensive knowledge of local journalism to report stories at the city, state and country level. Her work includes a story about Harlem’s last assisted living facility for people living with HIV/AIDS; a profile on New York State’s first Farmers Union; and a database of deaths in the Milwaukee County Jail. She is also the recipient of other scholarships and fellowships from several notable organizations in the news industry, including the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN), ProPublica, and the Journalism and Women Symposium ( JAWS).

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