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Benefits Cliffs

One person helping another person up a mountain

Benefits Cliffs occur when slight increases in earnings disqualify low-wage workers from public assistance programs, hampering their financial independence and career advancement.

Our Community Development team provides information and tools to help Fifth District policymakers and organizations improve workers' long-term financial outlook.

Learn More About Our Efforts

Second/Third Quarter 2021

Benefits Cliffs

Neeraja Deshpande

Our summer intern Neeraja Deshpande provided an overview of benefits cliffs and why the Richmond Fed is focusing on this timely issue.

July 15, 2021

Bank Grows Benefits Cliffs Program

The Richmond Fed Community Development team is expanding awareness about a digital resource that could help improve the long-term earnings of many workers across the Fifth District.

Feb. 16, 2021

Richmond Fed Educates on Benefits Cliffs

The Richmond Fed’s Community Development team is raising awareness about opportunities to help low-wage workers overcome setbacks as they earn more income.

Research and Resources

Oct. 19, 2021

What’s Sidelining Workers?

Tom Barkin
President, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

President Tom Barkin talks about who is on the sidelines of the labor market, what’s keeping them there, and how we can remove barriers in their way.

Demo the CLIFF Tools

As part of our efforts to help address benefits cliffs across the Fifth District, the Richmond Fed has partnered with the Atlanta Fed to use Atlanta's CLIFF tools, a suite of digital resources that showcase the loss of public assistance a worker might face with an increase in income, and the simultaneous gap in financial resources this causes. The CLIFF tools also facilitate the simulation of policy and programmatic solutions.

Learn more about the tools by viewing the demo version of the CLIFF Dashboard and the demo version of the CLIFF Planner on the Atlanta Fed's CLIFFs tools webpage.

The Virginia Goodwill Network ( VGN) is a consortium of five regional Goodwill organizations that provide collaborative workforce development programs and services to tens of thousands of Virginians each year.

This includes: