Maximizing Impact of Direct Cash Transfers to Young People

Navigating Interactions with Tax Obligations, Public Benefits, and Other Financial Assistance

Many jurisdictions are considering unconditional direct cash transfers (DCTs) to youth and young adults to bolster housing stability, transitions to adulthood, well-being, and racial justice. These efforts are increasingly supported by federal, state, and local public funding initiatives as well as private funds. Federal and state public benefits and educational grants are an integral part of any jurisdiction’s approach to working with youth at risk of homelessness and experiencing homelessness.

DCTs offer a promising source of support and a safety net. The benefit of participating in a DCT program, though, is diminished if the payments increase tax obligations or reduce eligibility for public benefits or other financial assistance (for example, if young people have too much income and are no longer eligible for this assistance). To address these issues, Chapin Hall is collaborating with national policy experts and practitioners to improve understanding of the tax, public benefits, and educational aid implications for young people participating in DCT programs. Collaborators will also identify possible strategies to mitigate adverse effects. While this project focuses on DCT initiatives supporting young people, the lessons could offer valuable insights for DCT and emerging “basic income” or “guaranteed income” projects for families and other populations across the country.

With support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, this collaborative project will produce a policy toolkit on Direct Cash Transfers for Youth & Young Adults. The toolkit will include well-researched, vetted, and user-friendly resources developed and reviewed by subject matter experts.

This toolkit will be informed by collaborative community engagement with youth experts, local jurisdictions, nonprofits, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers through an interactive webinar series. The series took place from January to March 2022 and featured subject matter experts presenting  information and recommendations on their respective topics. Webinar attendees were encouraged to offer feedback and considerations to inform the final policy papers and also lend to a stronger policy toolkit.

The final toolkit will be published here in Summer 2022.

Chapin Hall brings a strong project team to this work, including Sarah Berger Gonzalez, Matt Morton, Alesha Alexcee, and Anne Farrell.