There are issues that affect access to diapers for struggling families that can be addressed at the state level. In the State Issues section:
- Take a look at your state’s sales tax policy on diapers.
- Read about state programs providing direct assistance for diapers.
- See how states are funding diaper bank assistance.
- See how your state measures up against how other state’s operate their TANF programs.
- Review your state’s Medicaid diaper policy for children whom diapers are part of medical treatment.
State Sales Tax
As of July 1, 2021, thirty-five states currently charge sales tax on diapers. This tax can range from 2.5% in Virginia to 7% in Indiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. In many states, cities and counties can add additional tax.
Children require at least 50 diaper changes per week, or 200 diaper changes per month. By reducing the sales tax, families can buy 2 additional diapers for every percentage point reduction in the sales tax for the same money they would have used to buy 200 diapers with tax.
States can make diapers more affordable and available to families in need by providing direct assistance. This may come in the form of a voucher for diapers, an additional allowance for families as part of a work support program, or distributing diapers directly, through a diaper bank or other diaper distribution program. Such efforts are generally very targeted, in part because of the expense of providing diapers to a large number of children.
Diaper Bank Assistance
States may decide to provide assistance to diaper banks or other organizations for diaper distribution. This can be as a line item in the budget, through the action of a state agency, or a law specifying that the state will provide assistance to the diaper bank.
- In 2015 the Minnesota Legislature appropriated $2 million in mobile food shelf funding state grants. Managed by Hunger Solutions, a statewide association, in addition to other specified operating costs, funding may also be used to purchase proteins, fruits, vegetables, and diapers.
TANF Family Caps
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is designed to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency. States receive block grants to design and operate programs that accomplish one of the purposes of the TANF program. To see how your state measures up, click here to access the interactive map.
Diapers and Medicaid
State Medicaid programs are required to provide diapers for children for whom diapers are part of medical treatment. But states vary widely as to the minimum age of the child for whom they provide diapers and the documentation required to establish need.
See how each state fares on the NDBN Medicaid Tracking Chart.
Top Photo Credit: EastSide Baby Corner, Issaquah.
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