CONCORD – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the New Hampshire Division of Economic Stability and Housing and Job Security have completed an economic analysis that will provide a framework to reduce the impact of benefits of the Cliff effect on New Hampshire families.
The Cliff effect occurs when new or increased wages result in an immediate loss or reduction in public support, but the increase in income does not fully compensate for the loss of these benefits.
The analysis was conducted by Econsult Solutions in partnership with the National Center for Children in Poverty, and examined key data on New Hampshire’s business climate, social determinants of health, and public assistance delivery in order to understand and address the cliff edge effect in communities across the state.
Removing barriers to employment such as the Cliff Effect ensures that parents have the financial stability they need to stay strong and resilient, and that employers have access to a growing and vibrant workforce.
“Assessing New Hampshire’s current economic landscape is an important first step in creating a plan to address the cliffside effect in a systematic and holistic way that puts families first,” said Christine Santaniello, director of DEHS. “Instead of a cliff of advantages, we envision more of an offramp where families can gradually move away from public aid and towards upward economic mobility. This analysis will help us identify the political levers to be moved to bring the most support to families in New Hampshire. “
“Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the impact of the Cliff Effect on families in New Hampshire. As people continue to return to work during the pandemic and beyond, it is critical that we remove the barriers families face so that we can effectively increase participation in the New Hampshire workforce. Failure to address these barriers negatively impacts the New Hampshire economy, ”NHES Deputy Commissioner Richard Lavers said. “The report examines unemployment as well as the affordability and accessibility of child care, all from the perspective of a pandemic. The reasons someone files for unemployment as well as child care issues are so important to better understand our continued journey to economic recovery and growth.
The Benefits Cliff Working Group, established in 2019 under Bill 4, will use the data report to help DHHS develop a plan to close the Cliff Effect and make recommendations for future policy changes and / or of DHHS legislation.
Additional elements of DHHS ‘work regarding the Benefits Cliff Effect include participation in the New Hampshire Chapter of the Whole Family Approach to Employment, the creation of the Whole Family Integration Team, and the development of a cliff benefits calculator.