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This chart shows the impact of losing work support benefits — such as child care assistance, food stamp, Medicaid and income tax credits — as income rises. The cliff effect occurs when even a modest increase in income leads to a complete termination of a benefit and a large net loss to the family.

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Losing Ground: Loss of work support benefits leads to cliff effect, hurts self-sufficiency

The measures passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 “to end welfare as we know it” were heralded as a ticket to economic self-sufficiency. The poor would be encouraged to enter the workforce and eventually leave all welfare assistance behind. But for most of the tens of thousands of working poor families in Colorado, the vision of self-sufficiency is illusive.

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