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United Way of Northern New Jersey, LIVE UNITED
United Way of Northern New Jersey-INCOME Advocacy

ADvocate » Income Advocacy


Financial Stability And Independence

IncomeMore than half of all jobs in New Jersey pay less than $20 an hour or $40,000 annually when full time. That's not enough for a family to survive in this high cost region. ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) families live paycheck to paycheck, unable to set aside savings, leaving them vulnerable in the event of an emergency. The following are the policy changes United Way is fighting to change for ALICE and all in our community:

  • Preserve and expand the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, the nation’s top pro-work, anti-poverty policy so that ALICE can have a shot at paying down debt and establishing savings.
  • Support making the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program permanent and increasing funding for the program, helping ALICE and families in poverty receive free, qualified tax preparation assistance.
  • Support the enactment of federal basic competency standards for unenrolled paid tax preparers in order to protect vulnerable families from filing inaccurate returns.
  • Support a New Jersey child care tax credit that allows working ALICE and families in poverty to receive an income tax credit for child and dependent care expenses.
  • Provide clear information about the cost of a higher education degree versus the return on investment through the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act so students weigh the cost of higher education debt versus anticipated future earnings.
  • Expand Pell Grant eligibility to individuals seeking short-term postsecondary certificates.

United Way Stands Up For ALICE

United Way is advocating for policy changes that would make a meaningful difference for those earning incomes below the ALICE Threshold and all in our community. See below for examples.

Sent a letter asking Congress to support making VITA a permanent grant program with $30 million in funding.

Signed a United Way Worldwide letter sent to Congress on February 28 requesting funding for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance so that we can better provide free tax preparation services in our region.

Wrote a letter to U.S. Senator Robert Menendez advocating to make permanent key provisions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. The same letter was shared with U.S. Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman and Bill Pascrell.  
PDF Icon PDF  Download Letter

N.J. General Assembly Human Services Committee January 26 Hearing
United Way ALICE Project Director Stephanie Hoopes, Ph.D., testified on the importance of supporting ALICE in the short term while developing long-term strategies that can help these families get on solid financial ground.
PDF Icon PDF  Download Testimony 

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