With nearly 40 percent of all working-age Americans struggling to make ends meet, one might imagine that workers would be more than happy to receive a pay raise or promotion, but that’s not always the case. Because the struggle for basic family needs often requires the use of public assistance programs, some workers are concerned about earning more than the minimum amount required for this program. Low income workers have to make a choice whether the benefits of these programs outweighs the cost of making more monthly income. For workers, it can be hard to decide whether earning more money will make them worse off or better, which researcher Susan Crandall calls the “cliff effect.” As director of the Center for Social Policy, she studies low-income working families and their struggles for financial freedom and security.
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