Policy Rules Database

The Policy Rules Database is a repository that allows for a variety of research on public assistance programs and tax policies, including the modeling of benefits cliffs on career pathways.

The public assistance programs and tax credits that support workforce participation in the United States are made up of a patchwork of policies, implemented and administered at the federal, state, and local levels. These programs are designed separately from each other and have unique structure and terminology.

The PRD simplifies the interpretation of all programs by creating a common structure and a common terminology. It culls eligibility information into one simple-to-use database that describes policy rules in plain English and boils the complex program design down to a common set of logical or numeric fields.

  • Public Assistance Programs included in the PRD: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), National School Breakfast and Lunch Program (NSLP and NSBP),  Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), Child Care and Development Fund Subsidies (CCDF), Head Start, Medicaid/Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Health Insurance Marketplace Subsidies, Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Taxes and Tax Credits Included in the PRD: Federal personal income tax, state personal income tax, Federal Insurance Contribution Tax Act (FICA), state sales tax, federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC),  federal Child Tax Credit (CTC), state Child Tax Credit (CTC)  federal Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC), state Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit

Download the Policy Rules Database Technical ManualAdobe PDF file format

Request access to the Policy Rules Database.

Cost-of-Living Database (CLD)

The Cost-of-Living Database provides county-level estimates of the cost of living for different family types using a basic set of expenses. This includes housing, utilities, childcare, health insurance, food, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses. The CLD is based on the methodology used in the University of Washington's Self-Sufficiency Standard.Off-site link

Further, the CLD is used in our CLIFF dashboards, which simulate real families. Costs are an important consideration when calculating eligibility because public assistance programs often allow for deductions of certain expenses such as housing, utilities, and childcare.

Download the Cost-of-Living Database Technical ManualAdobe PDF file format

Download the Cost-of-Living DatabaseMicrosoft Excel file

Download Example of Programming Steps


The Policy Rules Database and Cost-of-Living Database are the result of a collaborative effort between the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the National Center for Children in Poverty.Off-site link

logo for the National Center for Children in Poverty