GAO Compares Eligibility Criteria and Benefits of Federal Low Income Programs

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report that compares the eligibility criteria and benefits of six federal programs that assist low income households. The six programs the GAO compared were the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Medicaid, Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).

The GAO report summarized program differences (in target populations, work requirements, income limits, how income is accounted, and asset limits) that can increase administrative costs and impact households’ access to assistance due to the need to visit multiple offices and complete multiple applications. Efforts to better align these programs are difficult because the programs are authorized by different federal statutes originating from numerous Congressional committees. The report, however, identifies efforts to streamline eligibility rules, which include aligning application and eligibility determination processes and making greater use of technology to share data across low income programs.

The GAO report titled Federal Low-Income Programs: Eligibility and Benefits Differ for Selected Programs Due to Complex and Varied Rules is available at: