Reframing Benefits Cliffs: Solutions for an Inclusive Recovery - October 15, 2020

Reframing Benefits Cliffs: Solutions for an Inclusive Recovery - October 15, 2020

Hosted virtually by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

This summit reconsiders benefits cliffs in light of three changes. First, the issue of benefits cliffs has long been recognized as a barrier to economic mobility for lower-income families. However, solutions to the benefits cliff are no longer being viewed in isolation, but rather as part of an overall approach to support workers on the path to economic self-sufficiency. Second, there is growing recognition that benefits cliffs go well beyond a social services problem—and reflect a workforce and economic development problem that affects business and the taxpayer. In addition, workforce development policies must now focus on those who are hardest to serve and whom COVID-19 has displaced. Third, policymakers—challenged by COVID-19 and renewed attention to longstanding inequities in the labor market—are thinking how best to respond, given current economic and societal contexts.

Watch the video of the whole summit (clips are below):

Video transcript

If you have any questions, please contact Valerie Crosby, Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta,

Virtual Agenda
Download speaker presentation slides Adobe PDF file format

David E. Altig, executive vice president and director of research, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Carlis V. Williams, regional administrator, Region IV, Administration for Children & Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Section I: Reframing How We Understand Benefits Cliffs and Their Impact on Families

"Equity, the Economy, and Benefits Cliffs"
Raphael Bostic, president and chief executive officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic discusses the Atlanta Fed's role in benefits cliffs work and explains why finding solutions is important to the health of the economy.

"Benefits Cliffs and the Economy Post-COVID"
David E. Altig

Dave Altig, senior vice president and director of research at the Atlanta Fed, discusses the current employment landscape and how minimizing the effects of benefits cliffs can make a difference for lower-wage, lower-skill workers.

Moderated Q&A

Section II: Featured Speakers

"Benefits Cliffs as a Workforce Development Problem"
Nick Moore, Alabama Governor's Office of Education and Workforce Transformation

Nick Moore, education policy advisor and coordinator in the Alabama Governor's Office of Education and Workforce Transformation, explains how the State of Alabama has made abating benefits cliffs central to the state's strategy for helping people achieve self-sufficiency.

"A Systems Approach to Benefits Cliffs"
Maggie Mickler, Florida Department of Children and Families
[Transcript | Talking points Adobe PDF file format]

Moderated Q&A

Section III: Panel Discussion

"A Community Approach"
Pam Bates, East Lake Initiative/ThriveJC
Richard B. Barr, South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families
James Pasley, Waccamaw Economic Opportunity Council
Michele Watson, Florida Children's Council

Moderated Q&A

Section IV: Closing

"Bringing It All Together"
Lynn Johnson, assistant secretary, Administration for Children and Families

Lynn Johnson, assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families, highlights the proactive approach the administration is taking to help economically vulnerable families before crisis hits, and how the work on benefits cliffs is a key part of that approach.

Wrap-up and Adjournment
Carlis V. Williams and Dave E. Altig