HHS invests in strategies to provide effective and innovative pathways that lead to equitable economic success for all individuals and families. HHS facilitates system enhancements and partnerships across the federal government to coordinate resources and technical assistance to individuals and families hoping to achieve and sustain economic independence.
Objectives represent the changes, outcomes and impact the HHS Strategic Plan is trying to achieve. This objective is informed by data and evidence, including the information below.
- An economic consequence of COVID-19 is increasing rates of poverty. Communities of color have experienced higher rates of poverty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. An estimated 13.6 percent of Americans were in poverty at the end of 2020, compared to an annual poverty rate of 10.5 percent in 2019. Poverty rates for Black and Hispanic Americans were twice the rate of White Americans. (Source: COVID-19 and Economic Opportunity: Unequal Effects on Economic Need and Program Response)
- As of December 2020, 19 percent of Black and 21 percent of Hispanic adults reported that their households sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in the prior week, compared to eight percent of White adults. (Source: COVID-19 and Economic Opportunity: Unequal Effects on Economic Need and Program Response)
- In March 2021, 22 percent of Black and 20 percent of Hispanic renters could not pay the prior month’s rent on time, compared with nine percent of White renters. (Source: COVID-19 and Economic Opportunity: Unequal Effects on Economic Need and Program Response)
- There is a clear and established relationship between poverty, socioeconomic status, and health outcomes—including increased risk for disease and premature death. Some groups are more likely to experience poverty, such as people in rural areas, racial and ethnic minorities, and immigrants. (Source: Healthy People 2030: Poverty)
Contributing OpDivs and StaffDivs
ACF, ACL, ASPE, CDC, CMS, HRSA, IHS, OASH, and OCR work to achieve this objective.
HHS OpDivs and StaffDivs engage and work with a broad range of partners and stakeholders to implement the strategies and achieve this Objective. They include: the Interagency Council on Economic Mobility and Investing with Families Initiative, and collaborating with the Departments of Labor and Education on the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
Facilitate system enhancements and partnerships across the federal government to coordinate resources and technical assistance to individuals and families hoping to achieve and sustain economic independence
- Build state, tribe, and territorial capacity to expand safety net program coverage, enforce Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, streamline eligibility determination, and improve enrollment in order to provide effective assistance to address the economic conditions of underserved populations.
- Expand access to persons with disabilities to HHS funded and administered programs through effective communications and accommodations as required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Encourage states to collaborate with tribes and across programs and systems so that individuals and families hoping to achieve economic security have access to income and housing support, safe and nutritious foods, health insurance, education, and training as well as work supports, such as child care and transportation.
- Apply knowledge and best practices to help grantees and partners provide services that focus on social determinants of health and factors that affect economic mobility.
- Support naturalization among refugees and inclusion efforts, as called for in the Executive Order 14012: Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans, by reducing barriers to the legal immigration system.
- Enable research use of data collected through federal funded programs to accelerate the production of evidence on factors affecting refugees’ resettlement outcomes, including refugee youth outcomes.
- Invest in low-income, tribal, and communities of color through funding opportunities to promote social and economic self-sufficiency to lessen economic inequalities.
- Expand access to culturally- and linguistically-appropriate employability, economic development, education, and support services for vulnerable refugee populations, through specialized programming and collaboration with federal partners.
- Expand the development of resources for communities disproportionately affected by economic inequalities including Native American and Indigenous populations, refugees, and asylees, and facilitate the translation of materials for the public to the most commonly spoken languages in the United States.
- Expand awareness and ensure provision of language assistance services for people with limited English proficiency and auxiliary aids and services for people with disabilities in all communities, including communities disproportionately affected by economic and historic inequalities, regarding eligibility for and access to HHS programs, services, and activities.
The HHS Annual Performance Plan provides information on the Department’s measures of progress towards achieving the goals and objectives described in the HHS Strategic Plan for FY 2022–2026. Below are the related performance measures for this Objective.
- Increase energy burden reduction index score for high burden households
- Increase the percent of cash assistance terminations due to earned income from employment for those clients receiving cash assistance at employment entry
- Increase the percentage of refugees who are self-sufficient (not dependent on any cash assistance) within the first six months (180 days) of the service period
- Increase the percentage of IV-D (child support) cases having support orders
- Increase the median state share of federal TANF and state maintenance-of-effort (MOE) funds used for work, education, and training activities
Learn More About HHS Work in this Objective
- Earned Income Tax Credit and Other Refundable Tax Credits: The ACF Office of Head Start works with the Internal Revenue Service and the Office of Child Care to share information with low-income families about child-related tax credits and the Earned Income Tax Credit through periodic webinars and yearly communications campaigns.
- Employment and Training Programs Serving Low-Income Populations: Next Steps for Research: A collection of white papers that explore future research topics related to employment and training programs for low-income populations.
- Equity in Action Initiative: Through this initiative ACF is pursuing a robust approach to advance equity across programs and processes.
- Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP): The purpose of this grant program is to assist individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter a health profession through the development of academies that will support and guide them through the educational pipeline.
- HHS Language Access Plan 2013: This plan establishes a strategy for ensuring meaningful access by individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) to HHS administered programs and activities in accordance with Executive Order 13166: Improving Access to Services For Persons With Limited English Proficiency, issued August 11, 2000.
- Integrating Financial Capability into Employment Services: Literature Synthesis: Highlights research on the integration of employment and training services and financial capability interventions and their effects on economic outcomes for adults with low incomes.
- Justice40 Initiative: Justice40 is a whole-of-government effort to ensure that federal agencies work with states and local communities to deliver at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.
- Medicaid Integrity Institute: The CMS Center for Program Integrity (CPI) offers support and venues for states to collaborate and share best fraud-fighting practices, making the Medicaid program stronger and protecting the care of states’ Medicaid populations.
- Responding to Winter Utility Needs: This brief discusses the potential for the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund (PEAF) to support needy families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and by unusually high heating costs this winter.