For families in poverty, the receipt of public assistance is associated with favorable outcomes for children across a variety of health and well-being domains. Despite high levels of poverty and eligibility for means-tested public assistance, however, Latino families are less likely to receive income assistance than their income-eligible counterparts, and the socio-emotional, behavioral, and health outcomes of children in these families can suffer. Gennetian will develop an original dataset that maps state policy implementation and on-the-ground practices in thirteen states in which over 80% of the low-income Latino population in the US resides. The policy scan will catalogue TANF, SNAP, Medicaid, and EITC state policies via publicly available policy manuals, state legislation, and related documents and characterize features like application interface (e.g., language translation), eligibility (e.g., Social Security Numbers and other documentation requirements), and recertification (e.g., treatment of seasonal work hours). The practice scan will involve phone interviews, an online or email survey, and simulated online application experiences. Combining the qualitative and quantitative data, the team will create summary indicators of policy and practice. They will use latent class analysis to identify groups of states that have similar combinations of policies and practices. Then they will examine the extent to which the indicators are related to benefit utilization. The project will set the stage for future work to examine implementation across all 50 states and the implications for inequality in youth outcomes.
How does state implementation of public assistance programs matter for Latino families’ use of those benefits?