We partnered with the Atlanta Fed to create some groundbreaking interactive tools. Understand how changes in income or career affect public benefits.

About the Tools

Springfield WORKS and the Economic Pathways Coalition have partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to develop groundbreaking tools below that help individuals, employers, and policymakers understand which in-demand career pathways will lead to self-sufficiency and mitigate the potential loss of public assistance (sometimes known as a benefits cliff) based on their income, residence, career goals, and family dynamics.

These tools:

  • Help individuals understand how much money they will gain through paid employment and the financial tradeoffs from the loss of public assistance as they progress through their career pathways
  • Identify benefits cliffs by analyzing how public benefits interact with career pathways in specific Massachusetts geographic areas
  • Assist stakeholders in identifying barriers to career advancement and economic mobility and to support workers and job seekers in their movement toward economic self-sufficiency.
  • Simulate policy and programmatic changes to eliminate benefits cliffs and support family financial stability (coming soon)
  • Promote broad cross-sector use of the tool to help influence collective action to change systems related to public benefits for working families
  • Engage the private sector to examine compensation structures, practices, and policies related to low- to moderate-income upskilling and advancement opportunities

The Tools

Research and News


  1. Research from the Center for Social Policy at UMass Boston: Link.
  2. Dodson, Lisa, and Wendy Luttrell. “Families Facing Untenable Choices.” Sage Publications, Inc. on behalf of the American Sociological Association, Contexts, WINTER 2011, Vol. 10, No. 1, capturing community, pp. 38-42. Link.
  3. Explore the work done by the National Conference of State Legislatures that focuses on the whole family approach to careers and explores its intersection with cliff effects: Link.

News Articles

  • Chiarenza, Gabriella. “A hand up, not a handout, to cross the benefits cliff.” Fed Communities, fedcommunities.org, 2 DEC 2022. Link.
  • Coy, Peter. “The ‘Benefits Cliff’ Discourages People From Making More Money.” The New York Times, nytimes.com, 10 NOV 2021. Link.
  • Molina, Eneida. “Managing the ‘Cliff Effect’ (Viewpoint).” MassLive. MassLive.com. 17 July 2022. Link.
  • Nargi, Lela. “What’s a “benefits cliff,” anyway?” The Counter, thecounter.org, 9 DEC 2021. Link.
  • Kandilis, Anne, and Laura Sylvester. “Economic pathways coalition asks state to remove obstacles to economic opportunity.” MassLive, masslive.com, 24 OCT 2021. Link.