Resource Guide: Lifting Asset Limits in Public Benefit Programs
Author: Prosperity Now (formerly CFED)
Topic: Asset building and saving
Publisher: Prosperity Now (formerly CFED)
Location: United States
Format: Guide
Content Type: Tools
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Many public benefit programs – such as cash welfare and Medicaid – limit eligibility to those with few or no assets. If individuals or families have assets exceeding the state’s limit, they must “spend down” longer-term savings in order to receive what is often short-term public assistance. These asset limits, which were originally created to ensure that public resources did not go to “asset-rich” individuals, are a relic of entitlement policies that in some cases no longer exist. Cash welfare programs, for example, now focus on quickly moving individuals and families to self sufficiency, rather than allowing them to receive benefits indefinitely. Personal savings and assets are precisely the kinds of resources that allow people to move off public benefit programs. Yet, asset limits can discourage anyone considering or receiving public benefits from saving for the future.
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