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Net Income Change Calculator (NICC): Notes for Users

This page provides notes and tips about the following:

Defining the Family & Situation to be Analyzed

To specify exactly what situation should be analyzed, begin by clicking on the Net Income Change Calculator (NICC) link on the left side of the home page. Then, answer each of the questions that are shown. A few points to note:

  • The "Help" button next to each question provides a description of the question and the options for answering it.
  • The form will only display the questions that are relevant. For example, if you select "Single Adult", NICC will ask about work and assets for only one adult; if you select "Married Couple" or "Unmarried Couple," NICC will ask about both a woman and a man. (It is necessary for NICC to specify the sexes of the adults because, in the case when the family has an infant, a biological mother is potentially eligible for her own WIC benefit due to her postpartum status.)
  • If you want to start over from scratch, click "Clear Form" at the bottom of the page.
  • When you are finished answering all the relevant questions, a box with the words "Show Results" will appear at the bottom of the page (next to the "Clear Form" box).
  • If you think you have finished but "Show Results" does not appear, that means that NICC still needs more information. The message "Please answer all questions to continue." will instead be shown at the bottom of the page, along with specific information on what questions still need to be answered. For example, if you checked the box for child care subsidies, but the box for the pre-subsidy cost of child care still shows $0, NICC will show this message: "Please enter a positive childcare amount, as you have selected subsidized childcare."
  • When you are satisfied with the scenario you have defined, click "Show Results." The screen will be blank while NICC performs the calculations.
  • After you have looked at the tables and graphs (see below), if you want to make a few changes to the scenario that you're testing, you can start from your original entries by clicking on the Net Income Change Calculator (NICC) link on the left side of the page. Note: Do NOT click the "back" button on your browser; that will not reliably take you back to your original entries. Also, if you leave the tables/graphs to examine the Methodology & Assumptions page, the home page, or this page, you will no longer be able to retrieve your original entries.

Tables and Graphs

NICC displays both tables and graphs. Key points:

  • All tables and graphs show monthly amounts. (For income tax items, annual amounts are divided by 12.)
  • For all tables and graphs, net income includes the following components:
    • Cash income: earnings, TANF, and the amount of child support received by the family
    • Value of benefits from SNAP and WIC
    • Value of housing subsidy
    • Payroll taxes
    • Federal and state income taxes and credits
    • Child care expenses (after any subsidy)
  • See the Methodology and Assumptions page for more details on how these components of net income are computed.
  • If you ask NICC to calculate results for all states, it will initially show a graph and table with information for all states and DC.
  • From the national-level page, you will be able to switch the display to see results for individual states in one of two ways:
    • By using the drop-down menu at the top of the page
    • By clicking on the name of one of the states in the table
  • If you asked NICC to calculate data on all states but you are currently looking at a single state, you can change to look at another state (or change back to look at the all-states results) by using the drop-down box at the top of the page.
  • If you ask NICC to calculate results for a single state, only the results for that state will be available.
  • On every page of results, an "Input Summary" appears at the bottom of the page to remind you what inputs you entered.
  • Click "Export to Excel" at the bottom of any page to export those results for further analysis.
  • Click "Net Income Change Calculator (NICC)" on the left side to go back to the page where you specified the family and work characteristics. This will let you start from your current entries, make some changes, and then recalculate the results. (You might want to do this to test a slightly different scenario, or if you realize you did not specify the scenario exactly as you wanted to.) Note: Once you have left the pages with the results, you can no longer retrieve the form with your original entries; you will have to re-enter them.

Notes on the national-level graph and table:

  • The national level graph shows the amount of new earnings "kept" vs. "taxed." Specifically, it shows the following: Of the total increase in monthly earnings (from the initial level to the final level), what is the increase in a family's net income (shown in blue) vs. the increase in tax liability and/or decrease in benefits (shown in red)?
  • The total amount of new earnings is the same for all states. However, how that amount is divided between the amount "kept" vs. "taxed" may differ across the states.
  • The national-level table shows net income for each earnings level, for each state. The table has 5 columns of figures, one for each earnings level. Click on the name of a state to look at details for that state.
  • If the red portion of the bar for a particular state extends to the left of the 0 line, that means that in this state, a family's net resources would increase by more than the increase in gross earnings. One way this can occur is if higher earnings result in increased tax credits that more than offset any tax increases. Conversely, if the blue bar extends to the left of the 0 line, this signifies that the decrease in net resources is greater than the increase in gross earnings. This can occur if an increase in earnings causes the family to completely lose a benefit that, prior to the earnings increase, was a higher dollar amount than the increase in earnings. (This is sometimes referred to as a "cliff effect.")
Notes on the state-level graphs and table:
  • The first state-level graph shows state-level detail for the information in the national-level graph. For each earnings level relative to the initial earnings level, the graph shows three different bars. The first bar in each set (yellow) shows the total increase in earnings at that level relative to the initial level, the second bar (blue) shows the increase in net income relative to the initial level, and the third bar (red) shows the total amount of tax increase and benefit reduction.
  • The second state-level graph is the same as the first, but shows the results at each earnings level relative to the prior earnings level (instead of relative to the initial level).
  • The third state-level graph shows the composition of net income at each earnings level. Income components that add to net income (such as earnings, the value of SNAP benefits, and so on) are shown above the 0 line, while elements that reduce net income (such as payroll tax liability, child care expenses, and so on) are shown below the 0 line. Thus, a family's net income equals the height of the bar above the 0 line minus the height of the bar below the 0 line.
  • The state-level table gives the exact dollar amounts calculated by NICC for this family, for each earnings level.
  • Below the rows showing dollar amounts are two additional rows that count the number of members of the family who are eligible and enrolled in either Medicaid or CHIP, under each income scenario. The first of these rows uses the 2016 Medicaid and CHIP policies in each state as well as the 2016 poverty guidelines. The second row uses the 2019 Medicaid and CHIP policies and 2019 poverty guidelines.