New Report Highlights EITC and CTC as Policies to Eliminate Hunger and Food Insecurity

By Abby Ling

A recent report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) recommends expanding anti-poverty programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) as part of a set of federal policies to end hunger and food insecurity. The report offers a detailed look at the barriers to food access for families and highlights policies focused on reducing poverty and removing those barriers.

Report authors of  “The United States Can End Hunger and Food Insecurity for Millions of People,” note that almost 14 million households do not have enough food to meet their needs. Food insecurity disproportionately affects low-income households, people of color, rural communities, women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The report highlights external factors that exacerbate existing food insecurity such as climate change, rising costs, supply change shortages, and rising prices. The report examines hunger’s impact on individuals’ and children’s overall physical and mental health and wellbeing, impairing their ability to reach their full potential.

The report emphasizes that food insecurity stems directly from policy decisions that prioritize profit over people. Report authors said, “While hunger is a direct result of poverty, it is further exacerbated by policy decisions that reduce [safety net program] funding, restrict eligibility, put time limits on participation, and create other burdens that force low-income people to prove need.”

The report outlines long-term strategies to address hunger and food insecurity, such as reducing poverty; creating more accessible and affordable food production and distribution systems; addressing the impacts of climate change, and improving market competition to ensure long-term food sustainability for all. The report lifts up anti-poverty programs like the CTC and EITC, which reduce poverty and allow families to meet more of their basic needs. Policy decisions such as the 2021 federal CTC expansion, which made the credit fully refundable, reduced food insecurity and child poverty across the U.S. Millions of families used the monthly CTC payments to meet basic needs, such as buying groceries. However, since the monthly payments expired in December 2021, a Parents Together Action survey found that nearly half of respondents who received the credit can no longer afford enough food for their families. Report authors recommend enacting a permanent, fully refundable CTC and an expanded EITC to ensure families have the financial support they need.

The report includes other policy recommendations to reduce barriers to food access such as creating food hubs, incentivizing local grocers to accept food benefits, connecting federal food programs with local family farms and community gardens to tackle food deserts, passing a universal free school meals program, strengthening federal safety net programs, and more.  

Read the full report here.