The United Way network is a vast and diverse collection of local and state United Ways. As part of the network, United Way of Tarrant County works to improve the lives of those in our community by bringing together individuals, groups, donors and service providers to help solve some of the toughest social issues affecting Tarrant County.
So, what would bring close to 90 United Way executives – including our President and CEO, Leah King, to Capitol Hill? What common issue could affect 90 different communities, in 41 states? The answer, simply, is Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
EITC is a federal refundable tax credit, available to individuals and families that earn less than $55,000. Recipients must work to be eligible, and the purpose of the credit is to offset federal payroll and income taxes so that low-income hardworking Americans can keep more of what they’ve earned. Recipients use their boost in income for things like reliable transportation to work, groceries or childcare. Additionally, the EITC is a work-incentive, as the more a recipient earns, the more credit he or she receives.
EITC is incredibly effective at helping working families keep their heads above water, but workers under 25 or those that can’t claim dependents aren’t eligible for EITC or receive too small a credit to experience stabilizing effects. It should be noted that workers that can’t claim dependents are often non-custodial parents that still contribute to the costs of raising a child. Under current law, a childless adult or noncustodial parent working full-time, year-round, at the federal minimum wage is ineligible for EITC. As a result, low-wage workers not raising children are a significant group that the federal tax system taxes into or deeper into poverty.
Congress can address this issue by lowering the age of eligibility for EITC and expanding the size of the credit for workers not claiming dependents. And that’s what Leah King is talking about today with the Tarrant County elected delegation. This is a great opportunity to highlight the advocacy work of United Way of Tarrant County and to ask that EITC be expanded in the next appropriate legislative vehicle.
You can help amplify the message these advocates are taking to the Hill, by taking action here.