A SOCIAL BENEFITS CALCULATOR
FOR FORSYTH COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA
A Center for the Study of Economic Mobility project in conjunction with Forsyth Futures
This calculator has no graphs and no complex figures, which are available elsewhere (click here for an example). A simple table compares two monthly wage scenarios and lets the user easily see changes along with the overall net change.
The calculator tool is not intended to provide career or financial advice. The calculations provided by this site are summaries to be used for educational and informational purposes only. Do not rely on them as a determination of public assistance. Determination of eligibility and amount of public assistance is made solely by the applicable provider(s). It is possible that persons may be eligible for additional public assistance not covered by this site.
What is a Social Benefits Calculator?
A Social Benefits calculator is used to help individuals better anticipate changes in social benefits such as food stamps and child-care assistance when monthly wages are changing. It provides information for various monthly wage scenarios.
Why Have a Social Benefits Calculator?
Going back many years, Federal and state welfare programs support those with low incomes with a variety of different programs ranging from child care to food assistance.
Those programs’ benefits scale back as a person’s income rises. Unfortunately, there has been no clear guidance on how to do this without hurting work incentives. That can make it frustrating for those individuals who want to work harder to get ahead.
As income rises, each program reduces benefits along a different downward path. Some are gentle slopes. Others flatten and then drop off like a cliff at certain income levels. Still others appear like jagged mountain trails. This makes it extremely difficult for ordinary people to predict what will happen when they get a raise, especially in combination with each other.
Across the country, various organizations have created benefits calculators that can be helpful for policy analysts, with color-coded bar and line graphs that show the hazards and disincentives of these programs, under different scenarios. But these calculators can be very confusing for those without a background in statistics.
This calculator is aimed at making these complexities as easy as possible to understand through an interactive and easy-to-use set of questions.
To learn more about benefits cliffs and larger policy perspectives, check out this interactive microsite by Forsyth Futures.
How will social benefits, income, and taxes change for a worker after a pay raise?
These include changes to food stamps (SNAP), child care assistance, housing choice vouchers and WIC benefits along with taxes, and the earned income tax credit. (Medicaid is excluded from our calculations.)
Who can benefit from this calculator?
Individuals who want to better understand and predict what a wage increase might mean for them.
Employers who want to better understand challenges faced by some of their employees. Without delving into employees’ private lives, they can still develop menus of alternatives to a wage increases in order to lower turnover and increase productivity.
Policy analysts, academics, government staff and elected politicians who can better understand — on a practical level — how federal and state benefits policies combine to undermine American citizens’ incentives to work. Long term, this calculator could change the conversation because it makes this problem easier to understand for more people.
How can I get more information?
Will the information I provide be kept private?
Yes, the privacy of your personal information is our highest priority.
If you have questions regarding the privacy of personal data collected through The Calculator, please contact info@ForsythFutures.org.
The Calculator collects two types of information from users: anonymous and personally-identifiable. Personally identifiable information is always voluntary and not needed to use the Calculator.
- Anonymous Information: If a user decides not to enter an email address, ZIP code, or race/ethnicity, this will make the user’s information completely anonymous to all parties.
This includes responses about types of benefits received, income level, and household composition (as examples). Answers to these questions cannot be used to identify a user individually. These responses are only used to 1) inform users on how changes in earned income may affect their overall income and 2) responses across many users may be aggregated into reports for community groups to use in important planning and discussions around improving ways for workers to get larger rewards for work effort in spite of benefits declining. In such cases, no information will ever be used in a way that makes it possible for any user to be identified personally.
- Personally Identifiable Information (voluntary only): some questions in The Calculator could potentially be used to identify a user personally (such as email address, and certain demographic questions such as ZIP code or race/ethnicity). If a user decides to submit email information, this information is ONLY handled by CSEM/Forsyth Futures and is never shared with outside organizations or individuals. We take the highest possible care and the personally identifiable individual information will only be used to 1) provide a copy of a user’s outputs from use of The Calculator via email (in the case of email address) or 2) to provide important insights about who is participating in use of the Calculator (in the case of demographic questions such as race/ethnicity or ZIP code, as examples). Reports bases on demographic usage of The Calculator will never be shared with any outside group or agency unless there are sufficient numbers of participants to ensure that no single participant can be identified personally.
Who administers the data submitted through use of the calculator?
The Calculator is hosted at ForsythFutures.org and Forsyth Futures is the administrator of all data submitted through use of the Calculator. Forsyth Futures is a registered 501(c)(3) organization that provides action-oriented data analysis and reporting services to organizations within Forsyth County, North Carolina.The Center for the Study of Economic Mobility, a research center at Winston-Salem State University, contracted with Forsyth Futures for the development of this tool and both organizations serve as partners for its maintenance and development.
The security of personal data submitted through use of The Calculator is our highest priority; The Center for the Study of Economic Mobility and Forsyth Futures have taken necessary steps to ensure that data submitted through use of the calculator is secure and cannot be accessed by outside groups, agencies, or individuals.
For more information about the Center for the Study of Economic Mobility, visit www.wssu.edu/csem. For more information about Forsyth Futures visit ForsythFutures.org/about or email email@example.com.