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Self Sufficiency Standard

Policy Analysis

The Self-Sufficiency Standard has been used as a tool to evaluate the impact of current and proposed policy changes. The Standard can be used to evaluate the impact of a variety of work supports (such as SNAP/Food Stamp Program or Medicaid) or policy options (such as changes in child care co-payments, tax reform, or tax credits) on family budgets.

  • The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Massachusetts was used in the Crittenton Women’s Union 2007 report, Unlocking the Doors to Higher Education and Training for Massachusetts’ Working Poor Families to advocate for tuition-free community college education and other ways to address financial barriers to education in Massachusetts, citing the need for post-secondary education and training in order to acquire Self-Sufficiency Wage jobs.
  • In Colorado, the Colorado Center on Law and Policy used the Colorado Self-Sufficiency Standard to determine the impact of affordable housing on family stability and upward mobility. In addition, the Colorado Division of Housing used information from the Colorado Self-Sufficiency Standard statewide report Housing Colorado: The Challenge for a Growing State.
  • In Maryland, Advocates for Children and Youth used the Self-Sufficiency Standard in their Maryland Can Do Better for Children campaign, a three-year plan to address critical needs of children and their families by 2010. During the 2007 special session of the Maryland General Assembly, the campaign utilized the Self-Sufficiency Standard for each of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions to successfully advocate for an expanded Refundable Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income families.
  • In December 2005, the Human Services Coalition of Dade County in Florida issued a policy brief titled Nonprofits, Government, and the New War on Poverty: Beating the Odds in a Global Economy, which used the Standard to examine Florida’s human services sector from an economic and community perspective. The Human Services Coalition of Dade County is now Catalyst Miami.
  • In Pennsylvania, many groups, including PathWays PA, have used the Standard to model the impact of a state Earned Income Tax Credit on the ability of a family to reach self-sufficient wages. Pennsylvania also used the Standard for an analysis of the impact of proposed child care co-payments on low-income working parents. This analysis was instrumental in preventing the proposed co-payments.
  • When the Oklahoma Department of Human Services proposed large increases in child care co-payments, the Community Action Project (CAP) of Tulsa County used analyses based on the Self-Sufficiency Standard in their report, Increased Child Care Co-Payments Threaten Access to Care for Low Income Families, resulting in the Department rescinding the proposed increases.
  • The nonprofit organization Alabama Arise led a coalition that successfully advocated for more progressive taxes, thereby increasing the income level at which families begin paying taxes.
  • In Virginia, Voices for Virginia’s Children successfully advocated for the state’s TANF Authorization Committee to use the Virginia Self-Sufficiency Standard as a tool for setting eligibility guidelines.