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Improving Work Supports: Using the Family Resource Simulator to Identify Problems and Test Solutions

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Work support programs, such as tax credits and child care subsidies, help low-income workers enter and remain in the labor market. However, too often these programs are implemented haphazardly by states rather than as part of a comprehensive workforce strategy. Eligibility "cliffs" that result when a marginal increase in earnings leads to an even greater loss in work support benefits can cause a family's total resources to drop precipitously. A new Web-based tool, the Family Resource Simulator, can be used to calculate the impact of work-support policies on families' resources.