Low-income Americans struggle to monitor their benefits and learn about new benefit programs because each state maintains its own systems for accessing this information. These websites are often convoluted and hard to find.
Propel, a software company which focuses on the social safety net, developed an app called Providers to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Benefits (SNAP) recipients view their benefit amounts and deposits. The app compiles information from benefits programs in all states to provide personalized access to all users.
Propel also created a Benefits Hub to deliver updates to users on changes to their existing benefits and steps that they can take to apply for new benefit programs. Last year, Propel introduced a debit card to give users direct control over payments and a wider range of benefits, including Social Security and the enhanced Child Tax Credit. All information is written in plain language
The company regularly solicits feedback through the app, conducts interviews, and hosts a focus group of users on Facebook to update the app.
Project Outcomes and Impact
Providers currently has 5 million monthly users across the country, representing about 25 percent of all SNAP recipients. Users can now access many types of benefits, including unemployment, healthcare, food support, and housing assistance. Propel plans on helping government agencies spread information directly to their users.
Aggregating information from disparate programs can help provide clear and personalized information to users. Additionally, relying on plain language and seeking constant feedback empowers users and creates a more accurate, responsive, and useful interface.