Conditional cash transfer programmes in the US


The first conditional cash transfer program in a higher-income country was trialled in the United States by Mayor Bloomberg in New York City from April 2007 to August 2010. Known as Opportunity NYC-Family Rewards, the privately funded pilot program transferred cash rewards to families who were able to meet certain requirements related to children’s education, preventative healthcare, and parents’ employment. Twenty-two different rewards ranged from $20 to $600, and families earned $8,700 on average over three years. These rewards did not affect families’ eligibility for other types of government benefits programs. To participate in this program and to receive awards, parents were required to provide data about their health status, use of health services, banking and savings, education and training, employment and earnings, the demographics of their households, what types of benefits and assistance they received, housing status, participation at their children’s schools, and health insurance, as well as data about their children’s health status, use of health services, school attendance, and school achievement. In addition to collecting quantitative data, the program also collected qualitative data from in-depth interviews of family members, surveys completed by families, and administrative records pulled from various NYC agencies. The monitoring and proof of compliance required for families to receive each type of reward was so complex that the program limited payment of rewards to every two months. A revised version of this conditional cash transfer program, Family Rewards 2.0, which included guidance for families and greater interaction with staff, was trialled in the Bronx, New York, and Memphis, Tennessee, from 2011 to 2015.

Conditional Cash Transfers in New York City

Author: James Riccio, Nadine Dechausay, Cynthia Miller, Stephen Nuñez, Nandita Verma and Edith Yang

Publication: MDRC

Effects of a Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program in Two American Cities

Author: Cynthia Miller, Rhiannon Miller, Nandita Verma, Nadine Dechausay, Edith Yang, Timothy Rudd, Jonathan Rodriguez and Sylvie Honig

Publication: MDRC

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