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Asset Limits and Financial Security: A Conversation on Twitter

August 28, 2013
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Yesterday, the Asset Building Program and ACCESS to Financial Security for All (an initiative of PolicyLink) engaged in a productive conversation on Twitter about the issue of asset limits. Check out the Storify summarizing the conversation below, or at this link.

Asset limits are simply caps on the amount of savings that applicants and recipients of public assistance programs may have to apply or receive support. While these limits were designed to ensure programs target only the most high-needs families and individuals, they ultimately serve as a disincentive to save. By restricting families from having as little as $1000 on hand for an emergency, these limits leave families more economically vulnerable in the long-run and less able to move out of poverty and off assistance. Furthermore, asset limits can add cost and administrative complexity to the benefits administration process, which reduces the efficiency of programs at the state and local level.

Upcoming Twitter Chat with @Access2Assets on Asset Limits and Financial Security

August 23, 2013

The Asset Building Program is looking forward to participating in a Twitter chat this coming Tuesday with our friends at ACCESS, a new web resource for asset building and equity policy experts and advocates to learn, share information and ideas. We’ll be discussing how states can improve financial security for lower-income families and will take a close look at the issue of “asset limits.” We’ll discuss what asset limits are and how they can thwart the savings efforts of hard-working families and undermine public policy goals, such as promoting self-sufficiency.

We’ll also be featuring a new resource we released earlier this summer to help advocates, policymakers, and members of the general public understand how states stack up in terms of encouraging families to achieve financial security while they are receiving public benefits. You can check that out in advance of the chat here.

Never participated in a Twitter Chat before? Here’s a short guide on what it is and how it works:

How to Participate

Twitter Chats are simply public conversations that use Twitter as the platform for discussion. Anyone can participate by tweeting their opinion, sharing facts, or asking questions. @Access2Assets, managed by the team that put together the great new website Access to Financial Security For All, will be the moderator for this chat. They’ll be asking questions about what exactly asset limits are and how they work (or, in many cases, fail). Our team, using the @AssetsNAF account, will be providing answers to those questions, as well as guidance on how to make the most of our web-based asset limits resource.

You can participate using your personal or organizational Twitter account by following both @AssetsNAF and @Access2Assets. If you want to actively participate, tweet using the hashtag #assetlimits and we’ll see it and be sure to respond.

If you don’t have a Twitter account, but would still like to ask a question, leave a comment on this post and we’ll address it during the conversation. After the chat, we’ll pull together a Storify, which will summarize some of the main tweets and key takeaways from the chat. Anyone will be able to view that after the event. For an example (and a preview of what this chat will be like) check out the Storify that @Access2Assets created after their chat with Ben Mangan of EARN last month.


Who: @AssetsNAF and @Access2Assets and you!

When: Tuesday, August 27 at 2pm ET/11am PT

What: Use the hashtag #assetlimits to engage in a conversation about savings and financial security.

Let us know if you have any questions about how to participate! We’re excited to have this conversation.

"We are the real experts."

August 19, 2013
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“If you want to find solutions to the issues that people face while living in poverty, people actually living in poverty need to be part of the discussion when decisions are being made.”

Asset Building News Week, July 29-August 2

August 2, 2013
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include savings and taxes, poverty, public benefits, homeownership and housing, and student debt.

Event Summary: First Focus Children’s Budget Summit

July 25, 2013
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Editor’s note: This post was authored by Calum Montell-Boyd, a summer intern with the Asset Building Program. Calum is working toward his undergraduate degree in History and Politics at Oxford University in the UK.

On Wednesday, First Focus hosted the Children’s Budget Summit 2013, sponsored by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray. The event marked the release of the Children’s Budget, which highlights the declining federal investment in children at a time when almost one in four is growing up in poverty.

Playing the Long-Game on College Financing

July 22, 2013
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Sometimes when I need to motivate myself to do something, cheesy as it may be, I think about how it will benefit "future me." "Future me" will enjoy wearing the clean clothes that "present me" washed. "Future me" will be able to get out the door faster because "present me" packed my son's daycare bag. It works because, like Michael J. Fox a la Back to the Future, I know that "future me" will someday be "present me" and it will pay off. We could use more of this thinking when it comes to federal policies that help students pay for college.

Asset Building News Week, July 15-19

July 19, 2013
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include savings, child poverty, and a few quick hits.

SNAP Cuts and the Classroom

July 17, 2013
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Editor's note: This post originally appeared on New America's In the Tank blog. Our managing editor, Fuzz Hogan, spoke with Aleta Sprague of the Asset Building Program and Clare McCann, with the Education Policy Program, about legislative developments affecting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, often known as food stamps).

As the Farm Bill's fate lies in a swirl of confusion and acrimony on Capitol Hill, we asked two New America experts to assess the impact of the House move to separate SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance) from the bill. Beyond all the coverage of the legislative wins and losses, the way the bill was put together could have far-ranging impact, on our economy and our schools, unless, of course, promises to take up SNAP in future legislation fund it to present levels.

Q 1 – Aleta, what does leaving SNAP out of the farm bill mean for the program?

Aleta: The House’s decision to leave SNAP out of the Farm Bill entirely sends a clear message to families in poverty: they are not Congress’ priority. It’s worth noting that of the 23 million families currently participating in SNAP, 76% include a child or elderly or disabled family member. While benefits will continue at their current levels for now, leaving SNAP out of the bill paves the way for even deeper cuts than the $20.5 billion the House proposed earlier this summer.

Q2 – Clare, how do cuts in SNAP impact education?

Clare: Almost half of SNAP recipients are children. They lack access to adequate amounts of food, and possible cuts to the program come at a time in their lives when they are extremely vulnerable to the health, cognitive, and even academic impacts of hunger. Research has demonstrated that children without adequate access to food also struggle in school.

Event Summary: Saving Financial Aid

July 15, 2013
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Today, the Asset Building Program co-hosted an event with the Assets and Education Initiative (AEDI) at the University of Kansas. The event focused on new research on the issue of children's savings for college and how policy can better help low- and middle-income students both get to college and stay enrolled. The research from the field is clear: having a savings account in a child's own name has a positive impact that is sustained even when controlling for family income, educational background and other important factors. A new AEDI report Building Assets, Delivering Results: Asset-based Financial aid and The Future of Higher Education was released at the event and is available now for download. We've done something new for this event and summarized the conversation in a Storify. Check it out here, or scroll to the bottom of this post to read it.

Upcoming Event: Saving Financial Aid

July 11, 2013
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The Asset Building Program is looking forward to hosting an event this coming Monday morning in collaboration with the Assets and Education Initiative (AEDI) at the University of Kansas. Join us on Monday, July 15th at 9:30 am here at our office in D.C. or live online. The event, Saving Financial Aid: Expanding Educational Opportunity and Reimagining the Way We Pay for College by Promoting Children’s Savings, will explore the relationship between savings and educational outcomes, the potential for policy to support the savings of lower-income Americans, and the importance of including an assets-perspective in the higher education financial aid conversation.

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