Topic

Digitizing Policy + Rules as Code

Modernized Rulemaking for Benefits Delivery

A rules as code approach to benefits eligibility rules and regulations could help close the gap between policy and service delivery for governments, delivery organizations, and, most importantly, people seeking benefits.

Translating policy into standard and transparent computer code.

Every day, millions of people across the United States use digital systems to find out if they are eligible for health and human services, and then apply for, enroll in, and maintain their benefits. In order to implement these digital systems, program and policy teams work with software developers to translate laws, regulations, and policy documents into computer code.

This is not a straightforward process. Implementation requires collecting and interpreting a jumble of potentially conflicting sources across programs and states. Because a certain amount of ambiguity is unavoidable in policymaking, implementers must make subjective decisions about the intended meaning of policy elements. Compounding the potential for errors and inconsistencies, this process is repeated every time there are changes or updates to rules, and  duplicated across every entity that uses a digital system for benefits access. 

There is a fix for this, though:  digitizing benefits eligibility rules at their source and approving them as an official version of the policy. Digitization of benefits policy promises to dramatically reduce implementation burdens, improve transparency and integration of benefits programs, and facilitate real-time modeling of proposed program updates and amendments. This is the place to learn more.

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Benefits Launch

Benefits Launch

Benefits Data Trust (BDT) is a nonprofit that works nationally to connect people with public benefits. They use a unique approach that blends direct assistance, policy and practice solutions, data, and technology to provide efficient and dignified access to assistance. Since 2005, they have assisted in more than 800,000 benefits enrollments (including over 90,000 in 2021 alone) and secured over $9 billion in benefits for eligible households. BDT currently provides enrollment assistance in seven states.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
Case Study
ACCESS NYC & Benefits Screening API

ACCESS NYC & Benefits Screening API

New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity) uses evidence and innovation to reduce poverty and increase equity. The multidisciplinary team funds and scales new approaches, uses methodologies such as service design, digital product development and data integration to improve access to social services, and provides research, including the poverty measure for the city.

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

Mes Aides

beta.gouv.fr is a French government incubation program. The incubator was established to help public agencies build digital services that are simple, easy to use, and meet user’s needs.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
Case Study
18F's Eligibility APIs Initiative

18F's Eligibility APIs Initiative

18F is an internal technology and design consultancy as part of the Technology Transformation Service (TTS) in the General Services Administration (GSA) in the U.S. Federal Government. Their teams work with federal agencies to build and buy technology, and can also work with states and local agencies on initiatives receiving federal funding. They seek to build digital services that are trustworthy, designed with the people who use them, deliver good value, and are shipped efficiently and when possible, in the open.

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

PolicyEngine

PolicyEngine is a non-profit that seeks to compute the impact of public policy for the world. Through their free, open-source application, they want to make policy information accessible, and help users understand policy effects at the individual and population level. By giving policymakers and residents greater access to policy rules and their effects, PolicyEngine hopes to promote more democratic policymaking processes.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
Case Study
Comprehensive Careers and Supports for Households (CCASH)™

Comprehensive Careers and Supports for Households (CCASH)™

MITRE is a not-for-profit organization that works in the public interest across federal, state, and local governments, as well as academia and industry. MITRE operates federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) and conducts independent research. Their work aims to tackle challenges to the safety, stability, and well-being of the U.S.

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

Policy Rules Database

The Policy Rules Database is a collaborative effort between the Advancing Careers for Low-Income Families Initiative at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP). NCCP is a non-partisan research center that conducts research and translates evidence into actionable recommendations that advocates and policymakers can use to improve the lives and futures of low-income children and their families. The Advancing Careers for Low-Income Families Initiative’s mission is to carry out research on benefits cliffs and develop tools to support community and state efforts to improve economic security for families. The program also undertakes projects to help meet business talent needs to promote a healthy economy.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
Case Study
Alluma: One-x-Connection

Alluma: One-x-Connection

Alluma is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting people to help. They are reimagining the way technology is used to enable people to have agency to connect to opportunity. For over 20 years, Alluma has been providing digital solutions and consulting services that assist individuals, non-profit organizations, and various state and county agencies with eligibility determination and enrollment into various social benefit programs. They also connect people to local community resources. Through their human-centered, modular solutions, they support cross-benefit eligibility screening and enrollment in 45 counties and two states. Alluma has screened over 10 million individuals for eligibility and submitted more than 67 million program applications. In 2020, Alluma merged with One Degree to expand their ability to connect people to community-based services in addition to public benefits.

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

mRelief

mRelief is a nonprofit software product company which helps people in all 53 states and territories participating in SNAP find out if they are eligible and apply for SNAP. Their mission is to “transform social services for the inherent dignity of all people.” They have helped over 2.7 million individuals, and have unlocked over $1 billion in SNAP benefits.

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