The National Health Service Corps

The National Health Service Corps.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Elayne J. Heisler. March 9, 2018

 The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) provides scholarships and loan repayments to health care providers in exchange for a period of service in a health professional shortage area (HPSA). The program places clinicians at facilities—generally not-for-profit or government-operated— that might otherwise have difficulties recruiting and retaining providers.  The NHSC is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Congress created the NHSC in the Emergency Health Personnel Act of 1970 (P.L. 91-623), and its programs have been reauthorized and amended several times since then.

 [PDF format, 19 pages].

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Adoption Tax Benefits: An Overview

Adoption Tax Benefits: An Overview. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Margot L. Crandall-Hollick. March 13, 2018

 The federal government supports adoption in two primary ways: federal grants to state governments and tax benefits for individual taxpayers that help offset the costs of adopting a child. This report focuses on federal adoption tax benefits, which consist of an adoption tax credit and an income tax exclusion for employer-provided adoption assistance. The adoption tax credit helps qualifying taxpayers offset some of the costs of adopting a child. Although the credit may be claimed for nearly all types of adoptions (excluding the adoption of a spouse’s child), there are some special rules related to claiming the credit for intercountry adoptions and for adoption of children with special needs (generally children whom the State child welfare agency considers difficult to place for adoption).

 [PDF format, 28 pages].

Safety Net Investments in Children

Safety Net Investments in Children. Brookings Institution. Hilary W. Hoynes and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach.  March 8, 2018

 In this paper, the authors examine what groups of children are served by core childhood social safety net programs—including Medicaid, EITC, CTC, SNAP, and AFDC/TANF—and how they have changed over time. They find that virtually all gains in spending on the social safety net for children since 1990 have gone to families with earnings, and to families with income above the poverty line. These trends are the result of welfare reform and the expansion of in-work tax credits. The authors review the available research and find that access to safety net programs during childhood improves outcomes for children and society over the long run. This evidence suggests that the recent changes to the social safety net may have lasting negative impacts on the poorest children. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 67 pages].

Child and Dependent Care Tax Benefits: How They Work and Who Receives Them

Child and Dependent Care Tax Benefits: How They Work and Who Receives Them.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Margot L. Crandall-Hollick. March 1, 2018

 Two tax provisions subsidize the child and dependent care expenses of working parents: the child and dependent care tax credit (CDCTC) and the exclusion for employer-sponsored child and dependent care. The child and dependent care tax credit is a nonrefundable tax credit that reduces a taxpayer’s federal income tax liability based on child and dependent care expenses incurred. The policy objective is to assist taxpayers who work or who are looking for work. A taxpayer must meet a variety of eligibility criteria including incurring qualifying child and dependent care expenses for a qualifying individual and have earned income.

 [PDF format, 21 pages].

Delayed Retirement and the Growth in Income Inequality at Older Ages

Delayed Retirement and the Growth in Income Inequality at Older Ages. Urban Institute. Richard W. Johnson. February 1, 2018

 As concerns about retirement savings have intensified, many older adults have begun working beyond traditional retirement age. By working longer, they can improve their retirement security by increasing their future monthly Social Security payments and shortening the time they must rely on their savings. But does delaying retirement deepen income inequality for older adults by leaving those with health problems behind? [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 35 pages].

The Antipoverty Effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

The Antipoverty Effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Urban Institute. Laura Wheaton, Victoria Tran. February 15, 2018

 The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps millions of poor and low-income Americans purchase food, is the nation’s largest nutrition assistance program. This analysis estimates SNAP’s effect on poverty using the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). The authors augment the Census Bureau’s SPM to correct for the underreporting of SNAP and other means-tested benefits in the underlying survey data. They  find that SNAP removed 8.4 million people from poverty in 2015, reducing the poverty rate from 15.4 percent to 12.8 percent (a reduction of 17 percent). SNAP reduced the poverty gap (the aggregate amount of additional income required to remove all poor families from poverty) by $35 billion (21 percent) in 2015. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 52 pages].

State Regulation of the Charitable Sector: Enforcement, Outreach, Structure, and Staffing

State Regulation of the Charitable Sector: Enforcement, Outreach, Structure, and Staffing. Urban Institute. Shirley Adelstein, Elizabeth T. Boris. February 16, 2018

 State charity offices play an important role in regulating the nonprofit sector, working both independently and with state and federal law enforcement agencies. The Urban Institute-Columbia University Survey of State Charities Regulators (Lott et al. 2016) focused at the office level and showed that state charity offices vary in structure, authority, and tools used to facilitate and enforce regulatory compliance. In this brief, we further analyze those data to compare the relationship between state-level enforcement activities, outreach activities, bifurcation of authority, and staff resources available to state charity offices. We find that staffing levels are related to the scope of outreach and enforcement activities, as well as to bifurcation of authority, which provides a promising avenue for future research. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 18 pages].