Saturday, January 13, 2024: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Marquis BR Salon 14, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Julie Birkenmaier, PhD, Saint Louis University
Household financial capability and wellbeing have gained increasing attention in social work in recent years. This attention has often focused on financial knowledge and skills (Fernandes et al., 2014). However, three Grand Challenges for Social Work, the Reduce Extreme Economic Inequality (Lein, Romich & Shanks, 2015), Financial Capability and Asset Building for All (Sherraden, et al., 2015), and From Mass Incarceration to Smart Decarceration (Pettus-Davis & Epperson, 2015) focus on structural and contextual factors, such as social policy and financial access (i.e., available financial products and services), as key drivers of consumer financial capability and wellbeing. Federal, state, and local social policy, such as pandemic-related income support programs, tax credits, and safety net programs, have direct bearing on family income, financial capability (i.e., their capacity for financial wellbeing) and their financial wellbeing. Examining the associations and impacts of social policies and contexts is important for policy and practice change efforts maximize benefits to financially vulnerable families. Using conceptual frameworks and empirical findings, this symposium will provide understanding about four key areas of structure and context related to financial capability and wellbeing: the ways in which Ã¢â¬Åfinancial accessÃ¢â¬ï¿½ is defined and used, the application of financial capability and asset building in diversion from incarceration, state-level variation in social policy related to financial capability and well-being, and COVID-19 pandemic relief stimulus check distribution and implications for income support programs. The first study, A Systematic Conceptual Review of Financial Access, provides insight into the various ways that financial access, both within and outside of financial capability studies, is conceptualized and defined. Using a systematic review process, this study aims to develop a new definition and measurement of financial access. The effect of state-level policy variation on financial wellbeing is the focus of the second study, Why States Matter for Financial Strain. Using cross-sectional data from four years of the National Financial Capability Study, the researchers examine how state-level variation in social policy affect financial strain. Using the 2021 National Financial Capability Study, the third study, Who did not receive U.S. pandemic stimulus payments? Implications for financial inclusion and Universal Basic Income, investigates who and why some did not receive pandemic stimulus payments and assesses their financial capability profiles. Analyses reveals distinct classes of individuals, who may require targeted support, such as Universal Basic Income payments, to promote financial inclusion and economic stability for all. The fourth study, Strategy to Augment Diversion Programs: The Case for Financial Capability and Asset Building, presents a framework for addressing some of the root causes for involvement in the criminal justice system. Evidence from financial capability and asset building interventions suggests that augmenting diversion programs with FCAB services could improve financial wellbeing and reduce criminal activity. These studies shed light on the relationship between structure (social policy) and context (financial capability and access) and consumer financial capability and wellbeing. Policy advocates can use findings in policy advocacy to encourage policies that promote financial capability and wellbeing, particularly for the most financially vulnerable.
* noted as presenting author
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