The impact of timing of benefit payments on children's outcomes
Sam Sims ()
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Sam Sims: UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, University College London
No 11, CEPEO Briefing Note Series from UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities
Living in poverty negatively affects children's health and education outcomes (Cooper & Stewart, 2020). One reason for this - recently highlighted in the UK by footballer Marcus Rashford - is that families on low incomes often cannot afford enough food to last the month. The most direct method of addressing child food poverty would be to provide poor families with additional income. For the time being, however, the UK government appears reluctant to do this. An alternative policy response relies on changing the timing, rather than the value, of benefit payments. While the date of payment might seem like an administrative detail, research from the US suggests it matters. This briefing note reviews the evidence to explore how children in the UK might be affected by the timing of their benefit payments. For context, the UK government is currently switching claimants of six separate benefits onto a single `Universal Credit' (UC) benefit. Consequently, UC households will now receive a single payment on a given day each month, rather than receiving multiple benefits, paid to different individuals, on different days. The move to UC therefore makes the timing of that single payment particularly important.
Keywords: child outcomes; welfare payments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 5 pages
Date: 2021-02, Revised 2021-02
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