Study: Means-tested public assistance programs don’t help families escape poverty

Means-tested public assistance programs that cash assistance and in-kind benefits do not help families “escape poverty and dependence on government programs,” according to a new university study.

According to the study — “The Incentives Created by the Tax-Benefit System Facing Low-Income Families in Georgia” — conducted by Georgia State University,

“In the short-run, these programs alleviate the economic consequences of poverty by providing greater access to food, healthcare, and housing,” the study found. However, the phase in and phase out of benefits from means-tested programs as well as state and federal income tax schedules create complex incentives over a narrow range of income. “These incentives may discourage behaviors that allow families to escape poverty and dependence on government programs.”

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