The ACCESS Study investigates take-up of the Earned Income Tax Credit among eligible Californians

Dec 16, 2022

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) lifts more families with children out of poverty than any other social safety net support in the United States. The EITC and the CalEITC provide income support up to $6000 for qualifying economically disadvantaged California families, but studies suggest that at least 20% of eligible families are not accessing the benefits. The Assessing California Communities' Experiences with Safety Net Supports Survey (ACCESS) study was launched to understand awareness, access, and barriers to EITC take-up. A recent ACCESS publication shows that among 411 EITC-eligible California female caregivers of young children interviewed from August 2020 to April 2021, 9% did not receive EITC benefits because they did not file taxes. Another 16% did file taxes but did not get the EITC despite being eligible. The people least likely to receive the EITC may be those who would benefit from it most: people who speak a primary language other than English, younger parents/caregivers, and those with lower incomes. Differences in EITC receipt were found according to how tax filers filed their taxes. The paper, published in the Health Affairs Journal, was written by co-first authors Wendi Gosliner from the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Nutrition Policy Institute and Rita Hamad from UC San Francisco, as well Erika Brown, Mekhala Hoskote, Kaitlyn Jackson from UC San Francisco, and senior author Lia Fernald from UC Berkeley. The research was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with additional support from the Tipping Point Foundation and the UC Berkeley Population Center.

By Katherine Lanca
Author - Graduate Student
By Danielle L. Lee
Editor - Director of Communications & Research Engagement
By Wendi Gosliner
Editor - Project scientist
By Lorrene Ritchie
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist