Maintaining Benefits

The renewal and recertification process for benefit recipients is often easier than initial application and enrollment.

However, missed communications about the renewal process often leads to recipients losing benefits, forcing them to start over with an initial application. 

The process doesn't stop once the first benefits are delivered.

Churn—the term for when benefit recipients disenroll from and then reapply to benefits programs within three months of disenrollment—is typically caused by recipients not being aware that they needed to renew those benefits. This loss of benefits causes substantial administrative burdens for both applicants and delivery agencies.

Innovative agencies are using human-centered design to reformat and rewrite renewal notices, nimble technology such as text messaging helps to ensure recipients receive notifications and stay enrolled, and integrating data, by sharing information between initial and recertification applications and verifying information from other sources. Here, find resources, including step-by-step guidance on taking on redesign of renewal communications and implementing technology that helps reduce coverage gaps and maximize benefits. 

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Redesigning Michigan's Benefits Correspondence

The correspondence sent by Michigan to its residents containing benefits programs updates and action items continues to be too long, too vague, and too reliant on legal jargon. This prevents residents from getting the help they need and forces agency staff to spend time explaining the letters.

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

Project Re:new — Redesigning Michigan's Benefits Renewal Forms

Michigan residents must renew their benefits annually to continue receiving public assistance. Unfortunately, each assistance program had its own renewal form, and the process was plagued by complicated language and undelivered forms. As a result, many residents lost their benefits and the state spent about $25 million annually correcting errors.

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

Louisiana: Expanding a Successful Texting Pilot During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic placed incredible pressure on public assistance programs at a time when states like Louisiana were already trying to conduct more effective outreach to benefits applicants and recipients. These efforts were complicated by a surge in applications and the need to close government offices.

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

Providers App: Timely, Localized Updates to Benefits Information

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.

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

Retooling Find Local Help Using Human-centered Design

Find Local Help provides a list of free experts who can help users sign up for health insurance. The system asked additional questions before the results screen to give the backend system time to complete the search. Users received a “No Results” notification – instead of loading indicators – during this step.

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