To verify their eligibility for public assistance, low-income Vermont residents were forced to either physically visit one of only 12 Economic Services Division Offices or use the mail to submit documents. This delayed the application process and hindered residents' ability to access benefits.
Vermont worked with Nava, a public benefit corporation, to improve the document verification process. While the state initially approved a pilot program that focused on Vermont's SNAP program, the team created a service blueprint to better understand the entire existing service delivery process in Vermont.
Nava then developed a web-based document uploader that allows residents to upload documents from their phones and computers. The tool relies on easily reproducible software to account for potential expansion plans beyond the pilot program. The team introduced the uploader in phases to increasingly larger groups of potential beneficiaries.
After the success of this trial, Nava helped the state expand the tool to provide an integrated platform for uploading documents for all of the state's 37 assistance programs.
Project Outcomes and Impact
During the pilot program, the document uploader reduced the time to verify documents by 44 percent. Compared to the earlier process, the uploader helped more than seven times as many applicants upload their documents within 24 hours of receiving a state request for documents.
Pilot programs can help designers manage large projects, prototype designs, and build trust with government agencies. Relying on simple, self-contained tools and APIs may also help designers develop software which can be easily expanded and modified for a variety of use cases.