New Video Shows How Piloting an Expanded EITC Has Helped “Childless” Adults

By Lauren Pescatore

I bought a nice, soft bed to sleep on.

I saved it with my other money. Eventually that helped me pay off my housing debt.

tcwfThese are some of the stories captured in a new video highlighting the impact an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) could have on workers not raising children. The video, produced by MDRC, features personal accounts from six “childless” adults participating in the Paycheck Plus demonstration, which since 2014 has simulated expanding the maximum EITC for workers not raising children from roughly $500 to $2,000 in New York City and Atlanta.

Over the past several decades, the rising cost of living combined with stagnant wages have made it nearly impossible for many American workers to earn enough to meet basic needs.

For those raising children, the EITC plays a major role in ensuring that low wages are taxed minimally. But for workers not claiming dependents, the EITC offers little to no support. In fact, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that nearly 7.5 million “childless” American workers are either taxed into poverty or pushed deeper into poverty each year by our federal tax system, largely because they are excluded from the EITC.

Just how much of a difference could the EITC make in the lives of these workers? The Paycheck Plus participants’ responses range from being able to afford a bed to sleep on to buying shoes for their children – a stark reminder that many “childless” workers are actually parents unable to claim their children as dependents, often because they don’t live in the same household for the majority of the year.

“I have one son. He’s 34 years old. And I help him the little bit I can. He gives to me when he can, but he has three kids of his own and a wife,” one participant noted. Others spoke about the nearly impossible challenge of staying afloat in New York City on a low wage salary. “You need at least two incomes. And sometimes even at that, it doesn’t cut out to be enough to say you’re living comfortably. You’re just surviving.”

You can watch the full video here:

To learn more about the Paycheck Plus demonstration, click here: