The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the cornerstones of antipoverty policy, however, singles and those without dependent children have a relatively small benefit relative to families with children. NYC Opportunity is currently testing an expanded EITC credit for single workers that would more closely approximate the benefit for families. NYC Opportunity also launched initiatives to promote financial literacy for low-income New Yorkers in partnership with the Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE), which was established by NYC Opportunity in 2006 as the first municipal office in the nation designed to educate, empower, and protect City residents with low incomes. Together, NYC Opportunity and OFE spearhead a range of programs whose key outcomes included amount of debt reduced, numbers of savings accounts opened, and tax credits received. In addition to programs that directly address asset development, several education and employment initiatives now also integrate financial education and counseling into their on-going services
Child Care Tax Credit
The Child Care Tax Credit provides low-income eligible families with a refundable tax credit to help pay for child-care expenses. When combined with the Federal and State childcare tax credits, a New York City family can receive over $6,000 yearly to help offset the cost of child-care. At the time of its creation, New York City was one of the only two cities nation-wide offering this local credit.
Designing for Financial Empowerment (DFE)
Designing for Financial Empowerment was a cross-sector initiative exploring how human-centered design can be used to make public financial empowerment services more effective and accessible. Projects brought together citizens, experts, community-based organizations, and government partners to build better services for tax-time assistance, financial counseling, and financial literacy education for immigrants. This program is currently inactive.
To learn more, visit the DFE website.
Family Rewards - SIF
Family Rewards offered cash rewards to over 1,200 low-income families in New York City and Memphis for eight activities related to high school students’ academic achievement and effort, families’ preventive health care efforts, and parents’ work and training. A network of community organizations and partners supported families’ efforts to earn by providing information, referrals, and advisement. The program goal was to change behavior and habits, helping families earn income over the short term and reducing intergenerational poverty in the long term. This program is currently inactive.
Family Rewards Evaluation ReportsEffects of a Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program in Two American Cities: Findings from Family Rewards 2.0 - 2016
NYC Office of Financial Empowerment
One of NYC Opportunity's first programs, the Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) is the nation’s first municipal office whose central mission is to educate, empower, and protect City residents with low to moderate incomes, enabling them to build assets and make the most of their financial resources. To learn more, visit the OFE website.
Paycheck Plus is a demonstration project testing a simulated, expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) of up to $2,000 for low-income single (unmarried) workers without dependent children in their tax household through a randomized control trial. In partnership with the Department of Social Services and the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Paycheck Plus is partially federally funded through a Section 1115 waiver to study noncustodial parent participants and impacts.
Paycheck Plus Evaluation Reports
SaveUSA was a tax-time savings program operated at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites that offered eligible individuals a 50 percent match if they deposit a portion of their tax refund into a savings account and maintain the initial deposit for approximately one year. To participate in the program, eligible tax filers opened a specially designated SaveUSA account and deposit at the point of tax preparation, with a minimum of $200 in the account. If they leave this initial deposit untouched for approximately one year, they receive a 50 percent match (up to $500). This program is currently inactive.
SaveUSA Evaluation Reports
Youth Financial Empowerment
Youth Financial Empowerment was a five-year pilot that taught financial literacy skills and provided Individual Development Accounts to youth who were aging out of the foster care system. This program is currently inactive.