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Projections of Poverty and Program Eligibility during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Publication Date
Oct 15, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and the slowdown in economic activity have impacted the well-being of many U.S. families. Unemployment peaked at 14.7 percent in April, and remained above 8 percent in August. The CARES Act and the Family First Coronavirus Response Act used several short-term policy strategies to address this challenge. This brief provides projections of poverty rates and eligibility for Medicaid, TANF, and SNAP for the August to December 2020 period. Key findings are:

  • Annual poverty for 2020 is projected to be slightly higher than 2019, and the number in poverty is expected to rise above 13 percent by year’s end.
  • Medicaid/CHIP eligibility is projected to increase by seven percent over the August to December 2020 period.
  • TANF eligibility is projected to increase by six to nine percent over the August to December 2020 period.
  • SNAP eligibility is projected to increase by over 10 percent over the August to December 2020 period.

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