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

Bouman, John, Dinan, Kinsey Alden, Cauthen, Nancy K. | January 1, 2009

Neither the federal government, nor the states, has a coordinated or comprehensive work supports system. The current work supports system is comprised of a patch work of programs, such as EITC, child care programs, food stamps, Medicaid, SCHIP, and TANF. As a result of this disjointed history, these work support programs do not always help working parents meet their families’ needs. Using the Family Resource Simulator, a web-based policy tool, the authors make specific suggestions for how to improve the Illinois work support system. First, the Article present the landscape of work support systems and how they affect working families as income rises. Next, the Article shows the benefits of the Illinois work supports programs and also spotlights where the programs leave gaps or policy problems. Finally, the Article shows how the simulator can be used to model policy solutions to the problems revealed by the Article.