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Effects of the Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for Childless Young Adults on Material Wellbeing
NBER
2024.06.20
In 2021, the U.S. Congress temporarily expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit for workers without a qualifying child (childless EITC), to help counteract the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on lower-wage working adults. This expansion roughly tripled the maximum benefits for qualifying filers and lowered the minimum age to claim the credit from 25 to 19, providing new benefits to low-income young adults. Using data from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey and a difference-in-differences design, this study is among the first to examine the impact of the expanded childless EITC on young adults’ material hardship (food, housing, and expenses). We find that the temporary expansion led to a significant decrease in housing hardship among low-income, childless, young adults, and suggestive evidence that it also reduced food insufficiency and difficulty with expenses. Overall our findings show that the temporary expansion of the childless EITC helped reduce material hardship among young adults.