Although a growing number of studies suggest that providing poor families with income supplements of as little as $1,000 per year will improve children’s well-being, many poor children miss important sources of income support provided through the tax system because their parents either do not work or do not file taxes. Accessing assistance through means-tested programs is also challenging. We propose replacing the complicated array of benefits provided through the tax system with a universal child benefit of $2,000 per child that would be available regardless of parents’ work status. Our reform would ensure that all children receive enough assistance to make a difference and it would be simpler and more equitable than the current array of child benefits that are provided through the tax code.
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