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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

CT Day of Action raises awareness on 'benefits cliff'

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Wednesday, April 24, 2024   

Today, groups working with lower-income families in Connecticut are raising awareness about the state's "benefits cliff" with a day of action.

The benefits cliff is when a person might get a raise, have a kid with a part-time job, or some other income increase which then makes them ineligible for certain benefits. The changes can have severe impacts on communities and disproportionately affect families with children.

Stephen Monroe Tomczak, professor of social work at Southern Connecticut State University, said it is part of a larger workforce problem.

"People, particularly people of low income, are in a sense disincentivized to participate in the labor force and denied adequate jobs and income when they try to do that," Tomczak explained.

Several General Assembly budget bills could have dealt with the issue but most failed, which inspired today's action, a mock funeral procession to the governor's office to eulogize the bills, including the refundable Child Tax Credit, a housing voucher funding boost bill, and a bill eliminating the asset limit on the HUSKY C medical insurance program.

Social service advocates know the bills will resurface in next year's budget process.

Rose Ferraro, program lead of health justice policy advocacy for the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, said people are taking alternate steps like going to food banks or avoiding medical care to cover lost benefits.

"Folks will lose their rental assistance and then, they will sort of have to make some tough decisions," Ferraro noted. "'Do I put food on my table or do I make sure to pay rent?' And, so it becomes a sort of untenable position."

Ferraro added interwoven state and federal funding makes it hard to reach the core of the issues leading to benefits cliffs. One eulogized bill would have established a benefits cliff pilot program. For two years, it would have provided subsistence for people who've reached the benefits cliff.

Disclosure: The Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Housing/Homelessness, Human Rights/Racial Justice, and Poverty Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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