The Earned Income Tax Credit: Estimating Non-Claims Rates among Eligible Participants and Why It Matters to Social Workers


The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is accepted as an excellent anti-poverty policy tool, with favorable outcomes in education, health, and well-being among low-income Americans while increasing labor force participation. However, not all eligible people claim it, with participation rates hypothesized to be lower than official estimates of 80–85%. This study describes several methods to estimate non-claim rates utilizing data from the Brookings Institution, the IRS, and the census. Findings suggest EITC non-claim rates at least 50–100% higher than current official figures. Social workers can promote access to the EITC among eligible low-income people.

Publication Title

Journal of Policy Practice