Trapped in America's Safety Net

Trapped in America's Safety Net

One Family's Struggle

Andrea Louise Campbell

Most means-tested programs in most states have an asset test, which requires that an applicant not only be cash poor but also possess very minimal assets to qualify for assistance. Most of these asset test amounts haven’t been raised in years, making the poor even worse off. As the Suze Ormans and Dave Ramseys of the world attest, the first step to financial stability is having an emergency fund, followed by saving for other needs: your next car, retirement, college. But most social assistance programs prohibit such savings, forcing the poor to stay poor. Without savings, not only can you not get ahead, but you can easily fall further behind.

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