Digital Identity

Across the United States, residents use online systems to apply for and manage their benefits.

How agencies design and implement online log-in systems and identity proofing requirements shapes how residents can apply for and manage benefits online, impacts frontline staff workload, and is an important equity issue. 

Managing digital systems to promote equity and access.

For benefits agencies, processing benefits applications and enabling applicants to manage their cases online involves balancing multiple – potentially conflicting – priorities.

In addition to ensuring eligible applicants can access benefits in a timely manner, agency staff must also consider how to implement effective fraud prevention strategies that are not overly burdensome or inequitable. Successfully navigating these challenges and implementing user-friendly online log-in and verification systems can improve security and identity verification while promoting benefits access. On this page, you’ll find resources to help your organization design and enact efficient, equitable digital identity practices.

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Cal-ITP: Eligibility Verification for Transit Benefits

Public transport customers across the United States may qualify for benefits based on their income, age, student status, disability, or other characteristics. These benefits typically come in the form of discounted fares. Transit agencies receiving federal grant funds are also required to offer half-priced fares during non-peak hours to seniors, individuals with disabilities, and Medicare recipients; however, there are no standardized eligibility rules, processes or systems through which to apply these benefits. Eligible riders have to navigate disparate and potentially complicated processes to receive transit discounts, making it difficult for low-income riders and other special groups to claim the benefits they are entitled to. A standardized, customer-friendly solution for verifying transit benefits eligibility can help agencies to better provide benefits while also improving the experience of riders who qualify for benefits.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation
Case Study

MyFile NYC: Establishing Eligibility for Public Benefits Through Document Management Services

Structural obstacles in communication, transportation, and documentation represent some of the biggest barriers to public benefit access for people experiencing homelessness. Unhoused individuals may lack a regular address where important documents and correspondence can be mailed, or may have difficulty applying for benefit programs because they lack documents that establish their eligibility, such as proof of income or identity. Centers and clinics where people can apply for benefits may also have limited capacity to accommodate applicants’ circumstances.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
Case Study
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