From Barely Making It To…? Rising Wages and Falling Off The ‘Benefits Cliff’

GWP Members Only Program
Friday, June 30, 2017
12:00pm to 1:30pm EDT
Ross Room, 9th Floor Koppers Building
436 Seventh Ave
PA 15219
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Over the last decade, there has been increasing recognition that a large percentage of American workers receive wages that are not sufficient to meet their basic needs, making them dependent on various kinds of public support.  This growing attention to the struggles of low-wage workers has resulted in some success in increasing wages in parts of the country. There is little research, however, about how wage increases affect the well-being of workers and their families.

Do these wage increases raise the standard of living of workers, and, if so, how much? While this question may appear to have an obvious answer, in fact, wage increases may make some workers ineligible for public benefits (what some have termed a “benefits cliff”). Falling off the ‘benefits cliff’ can potentially leave these workers in the same – or even worse – financial position.

Join GWP to learn about a current research study which focuses on the effects of wage increases negotiated through the union contract at Allegheny General Hospital to answer these and other questions. The study  includes both in-depth interviews with a sample of service workers and a survey administered to all service workers. The study is longitudinal, following these workers over a three-year period to understand how wage increases affect workers and their families.


  • Jeffrey Shook, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh
  • Sara Goodkind, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh
  • Ray Engel, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh
  • Opening Remarks by Councilman Corey O’Conner


This will be a brown bag meeting so please feel free to bring your lunch.  Drinks and desserts will be provided.