Study examines sociodemographic factors in multi-program take-up of safety net programs among California families

Apr 10, 2024

US safety net programs provide aid to low-income households through cash and in-kind assistance, such as food and healthcare benefits. Using data from the Assessing California Communities' Experiences with Safety Net Supports ACCESS,study researchers examined patterns of multi-program take-up, that is participation conditioned on eligibility in California. Sociodemographic factors associated with multi-program take-up were also identified. Among the four safety net programs examined (i.e., Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children or WIC, and Medicaid), NPI researchers found relatively low multi-program take-up of SNAP and WIC. Meanwhile, the take-up of Medicaid was high, both as an individual program and among those participating in other programs. Sociodemographic factors, including Income, age, and primary language spoken were associated with multi-program take-up. To improve multi-program participation, study researchers recommend streamlining application processes to reduce administrative burden, data sharing among safety-net programs, and targeted recruitment of under-enrolled subgroups. Increasing multi-program take-up of safety net programs among California families can contribute to improved health equity and address key social determinants of health. This study was conducted by NPI researchers Marisa Tsai and Wendi Gosliner, Joseph Yeb with Tufts University School of Medicine, Kaitlyn Jackson and Rita Hamad with Harvard School of Public Health, and Lia Fernald with the University of California  Berkeley, School of Public Health.

By Brianna Aguayo Villalon
Author - Student Communications Fellow
By Marisa M Tsai
Editor - Research Data Analyst
By Wendi Gosliner
Editor - Project scientist