Balancing accuracy with burden.
One of the main improvements that cross-benefit eligibility screening provides is its ability to help people understand where to focus their application efforts. It also introduces the applicant to benefits that they may not be familiar with. Here, explore the potential for making eligibility screening and rules straightforward, along with cross-benefit eligibility, and examples of best practices and products.
Promoting Equity and Dignity in Benefits Access: Supporting North Carolina and Washington in Advancing Statewide Change
Social safety net programs that provide children, older adults, and families access to food, medicine, and other critical assistance have been an invaluable part of America’s COVID-19 response and remain equally vital in the face of persistent inflation. Yet antiquated technologies and practices continue to present monumental challenges to connecting people easily and efficiently to benefits like SNAP, Medicaid, and WIC. What would the country’s response to these emergencies have looked like if our systems were designed to help every eligible person quickly and easily receive assistance? And how could modernizing the benefits system today enable states to recover from the pandemic while strengthening health, education, and economic outcomes tomorrow?
Matching and Verifying Client Data Using Linkages Across Benefit
Data linking is an important tool that lets benefits program administrators efficiently determine eligibility, and ensure that applicants receive all of the benefits for which they are eligible. This resource provides examples and practical guides that explain how to use existing regulations and data sharing agreements to transfer client information or eligibility status between benefit programs.
Poverty Results from Structural Barriers, Not Personal Choices. Safety Net Programs Should Reflect That Fact
The structure of many social safety net programs ignore systemic barriers rooted in structural racism that disproportionately affect people of color. Instead, these programs are meager and punitive, designed to blame individual shortcomings. The current economic crisis and its disproportionate impacts highlight the need to redesign safety net programs to rectify these inequities and ensure everyone can access the resources they need to provide for their families.
New York City Benefits and Programs: Designing, Translating and Scaling Accessible Content
New York City's platform for accessing and learning about benefit programs, ACCESS NYC, increasingly struggled to adapt to new use cases, technological innovation, and more efficient methods of website maintenance and content sharing. These challenges impeded NYC’s ability to deliver up-to-date accessible benefits information and eligibility screening to residents when they needed it.
The “Income Passport”: Income Verification for Gig Workers in Louisiana and Alabama
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government made gig workers countrywide eligible for unemployment benefits for the first time through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) programs. These benefits helped expand the social safety net during a time of crisis, but states were not equipped to quickly process the volume of applications they received. Overall, this strained state capacity and, especially early in the pandemic, increased avenues for fraud. Many eligible gig workers also struggled to provide the necessary income information, and income verification issues resulted in delayed or denied benefits for gig workers. State workforce agencies needed to find ways to efficiently make sense of and verify income from gig work, which can be generated from multiple sources at multiple times, sometimes even within the same day.
Learning Towards an API Standard for WIC
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has been found to be very effective at improving nutrition for recipients and their children. Despite its effectiveness, only 45.6% of eligible pregnant people participated in 2022; the in-person appointment that starts the WIC application process is a common barrier to enrollment. The largely closed WIC management information systems (MIS) make interoperability, information sharing, and additions of new tools or functionality difficult. An Application Programming Interface (API) standard for WIC that enables existing systems to more easily connect with outside tools could be used to increase program access.