Getting a complete count in the U.S. Census is a huge undertaking, and part of that work involves hiring nearly 500,000 temporary employees to work as census takers throughout the country. Here in Cuyahoga County, census takers can expect to earn between $20.50-$22.50 per hour in part-time, temporary work (click here to learn what census jobs pay in your county).
Here in Cuyahoga County, census takers can expect to earn between $20.50-$22.50 per hour in part-time, temporary work.
These jobs represent good opportunities for people to have a positive influence in their communities and temporarily bring in some additional income for their households. However, we know that sometimes working families are concerned with a “benefit cliff”– whereby earning additional income causes them to lose more in public benefits than they earn in additional income (click here to read more about the benefit cliff).
The federal government and the State of Ohio recognize this challenge, and to help mitigate it, they have made exceptions so that census income does not impact eligibility for certain public assistance programs. This is especially important because the income from census work is temporary, so these jobs, while helpful, do not impact families’ long-term financial stability.
For the following programs, temporary census employment income will not impact eligibility:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or Food Stamps)
- Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP, both Winter and Summer Crisis programs)
- Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP)
- Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP)
- Electric Partnership Program (EPP)
- Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Programs
Note that Ohio does not have a waiver in place for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
For Medicaid eligibility, things are less straightforward. Since the last census, the Affordable Care Act eliminated states’ ability to use an “income disregard” for enrollees. Now, for some non-disabled enrollees, Medicaid eligibility is determined by calculating the average monthly income of an individual when they seek coverage. For people working in temporary or seasonal jobs, such as the Census, this calculation could affect their ability to retain coverage in Medicaid because it distorts the impact of that income over the course of the year.
In 2019, however, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued guidance that would give states the option to minimize the impact of temporary census income on eligibility for this group. States now have the option to prorate income over a longer period of time, up to 12 months, which would lessen the impact such income would have on eligibility determinations.
It’s not too late to apply for a position with the 2020 Census – if you’re interested.
While no plans have been publicly announced by Ohio, Community Solutions will continue to monitor this issue and will follow-up once more information is made available. With that in mind, it’s not too late to apply for a position with the 2020 Census – if you’re interested, apply here.