Economic Well-Being and Health: The Role of Income Support Programs in Promoting Health and Advancing Health Equity
People with low incomes have poorer health outcomes, including greater risk for disease and shorter lifespans. This pattern has the least favorable outcomes for those living in poverty but is present at every level of the income ladder. Income support programs that provide a social safety net for families—including the Earned Income Tax Credit and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families—can influence health by meeting families’ basic needs and supporting participation in economic development. However, families face inequitable access to income support programs. States vary in whether they offer the Earned Income Tax Credit, and this can lead to unequal access and participation across groups. Critical challenges for policy makers are identifying barriers to access to and participation in income supports as well as developing strategies to increase equitable access to income supports. This article synthesizes evidence on income and health and its relevance to income supports.
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