Does it pay to not work? In these states it might
Updated: Dec 22, 2022
A new study is proving that, depending on where you live, government benefits make it pay not to work.
The federal government and most states offer various safety-net programs that can provide health benefits and cash assistance.
The study, completed by Casey Mulligan at the University of Chicago and EJ Antoni of the Heritage Foundation, found:
In 24 states, unemployment benefits and ACA subsidies for a family of four with both parents not working are the annualized equivalent of at least the national median household income.
In 5 states, those two programs provide the same family with both parents not working the annualized equivalent of at least the national median household income and benefits.
In 14 states, unemployment benefits and ACA subsidies are the equivalent to a head of household earning $80,000 in salary, plus health insurance benefits.
The remarkable data shows three states where the "earned income equivalent" for a family of four exceeds $100,000. Washington ties for the highest in the country - with benefits that reach $28 per hour. Montana is 8th highest - at $79,963 worth of benefits for a family of four, and an average hourly wage of $20.
Study authors conclude "those extra benefits had a highly negative effect on employment, particularly in the states with the highest benefits."
In Idaho and Wyoming the numbers are a bit more reasonable.