The social safety net in the United States consists of a variety of programs administered by both federal and state governments. Although the populations served by social programs such as Medicaid and consumer bankruptcy likely overlap, policymakers tend to look at individual programs unilaterally and often fail to communicate appropriately with legislators and political leaders at differing levels of government. The result of such an incremental approach to policy reform is a fragmented social safety net system in the United States. In this study, the relationship between two social programs belonging to the larger social safety net is examined, and recommendations for policymakers are offered. © 2007 The Policy Studies Journal.