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Abstract

This paper provides insight into barriers to participation in welfare programs for a valuable subset of our population— agricultural laborers. To do this, we provide an overview of California agricultural labor participation in social welfare programs. Based on the program eligibility criteria, we identify three potential barriers to program access: (1) legal status, (2) seasonality of employment, and (3) physical access to county enrollment offices. We then use the program eligibility criteria and benefit calculations to establish benefit kinks for a well-used aid program: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, known as CalFresh in California). Then, using the NAWS dataset, we present a comparison of families who report using CalFresh with those who do not, examine bunching around the income thresholds, and construct a measure of real income that includes program benefits.

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