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Unpacking Data Use in State TANF Agencies: Insights from the TANF Data Innovation Needs Assessment

Policymakers, program administrators, federal leaders, researchers, and advocates are increasingly focused on using administrative data to build evidence for improving government programs. Achieving this goal requires accessible data sources and the capacity to use them, yet stakeholders have little information about the baseline level of state capacity in these areas. How does one measure concepts such as “effective data use” and “analytic capacity?” This brief reports findings from a pioneering and comprehensive needs assessment that examined the capacity of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs in 54 U.S. states and territories to analyze data used for program improvement, monitoring, and evidence-building. The needs assessment provides a foundation for technical assistance and continued improvement for the TANF program and may also provide valuable insights and frameworks for other state-administered human services programs.

MDRC, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
Policy Brief

Digital Identity Verification: Best Practices for Public Agencies

Digital identity verification offers several potential advantages over traditional verification, but these benefits can only be achieved if issues related to privacy and ethical data use are also addressed. This guidance surveys the challenges facing government agencies who want to digitally verify identities as part of improving service delivery, and provides recommendations about how to address those challenges.

Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT)
Report

Unemployment Insurance Email Template Kit v1.0

This kit contains a collection of styles, components, and building blocks to quickly create action-forward emails for Unemployment Insurance programs within the U.S. An email library of 50+ examples are also provided for you to get started. Customize with your state logo and colors that are already in the file. Report of project is included.

Semicolon Design Group, New Jersey Office of Innovation, New Jersey Department of Labor
Toolkit

Funding Programs for Young Parents & Families

This brief provides a summary of potential federal funding sources and programs that can be used to support programs specifically targeted towards young families. While this list is not exhaustive, it highlights major sources that can serve as a starting point for braiding and blending of funding to create comprehensive programming to serve young families.

American Public Human Services Association (APHSA)
Policy Brief

Improving service delivery in EITC for New Yorkers

New America’s New Practice Lab is directing research with the aim to increase the money in the pockets of low-income families by enhancing service delivery in federal programs that help families. To address this challenge in one specific state, the New Practice Lab partnered with the New York Department of Taxation and Finance (NYSDTF) team to understand the factors that present challenges to the administration of the EITC. The team highlights recommendations and learnings from its research in this article.

New America
Case Study

Can States Finally Fix Their Unemployment Systems?

Though the economy is rebounding, it is still necessary for states to reform their unemployment systems to provide relief to millions of Americans, as many sectors are still slow to recover.

Governing
Non-Academic Article

Using Asset Verification Systems to Streamline Medicaid Determinations

This paper explores the background of the asset verification system requirement, the vendors that administer the systems; and the typical AVS process. It discusses AVSs’ current limitations and highlights best practices for advocates to promote and state agencies to implement to improve the AVS process and streamline eligibility determinations. Finally, it recommends federal action to help AVS states streamline processing.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Non-Academic Article

Surveillance, Discretion and Governance in Automated Welfare

This academic article develops a framework for evaluating whether and how automated decision-making welfare systems introduce new harms and burdens for claimants, focusing on an example case from Germany.

Science and Technology Studies
Academic Article

Framing the Risk Management Framework: Actionable Instructions by NIST in their “Govern” Section

This post introduces EPIC's exploration of actionable recommendations and points of agreement from leading A.I. frameworks, beginning with the National Institute of Standards and Technology's AI Risk Management Framework.

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Non-Academic Article

An Introduction to Digital Identity

This short explainer video introduces digital identity and argues for modernizing identity systems in the United States, in partnership with government.

Better Identity Coalition
Video

WIC Eligibility Content Audit and Usability Evaluation Report

We reviewed the online eligibility web presence of all 89 WIC entities to understand what WIC eligibility information each entity gives to potential participants. This report shares the results of our comprehensive content audit and heuristic evaluation of eligibility pre-screeners, including ratings on security, mobile-friendly design, accessibility, and more. The report includes actionable steps entities can take to make their eligibility information easier to understand and use.

Service Design Collective
Report

The Cash Assistance Implementation Playbook

The purpose of this document is to outline possible technical approaches to supporting a cash assistance program. The report aims to both capture individual approaches as well as overarching insights taken from across the approaches taken by different organizations.

New America
Toolkit

Documenting Pandemic EBT for the 2020-21 School Year

The Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program was launched as an effort to address the loss of access to free and reduced-price school meals due to widespread school closures at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools reopened in a shifting mix of fully virtual, hybrid, and inperson formats and families lacked consistent access to school meals, these benefits were extended through the 2020–21 school year and were highly valuable to families in buffering the full extent of food insecurity they may have faced during this uncertain time. However, the complexity of administering this program was a fundamental barrier in providing timely support to families, who ultimately went without benefits for at least half of the school year. In this report, we dive into the challenges state administrators faced in launching this new program during the 2020–21 school year and reflect on considerations for the future.

Urban Institute, American Public Human Services Association (APHSA)
Report

18F Methods: Journey Mapping

18F describes journey mapping: a visualization of the major interactions shaping a user’s experience of a product or service. This allows design teams to view a service through the perspective of the user and incorporate their learnings throughout the development process.

18F
Toolkit

The Missed Opportunity in Online Benefits Applications: Mobile First

The ubiquity of mobile devices makes it imperative to build “mobile first” services, i.e. services built with the expectation that they will primarily be accessed on mobile devices. This article also outlines important considerations and suggestions for implementing mobile-first user interfaces.

Code for America
News

Assembling Accountability: Algorithmic Impact Assessment for the Public Interest

This project maps the challenges of constructing algorithmic impact assessments (AIAs) by analyzing impact assessments in other domains—from the environment to human rights to privacy and identifies ten needed components for a robust impact assessment.

Data & Society
Report

The Time Tax: Why is so much American bureaucracy left to average citizens?

Article describing the “time tax,” the costs to people applying or benefits in terms of spending substantial amounts of time navigating user-unfriendly interfaces. The article describes the necessity of simplifying safety-net programs and cross-coordinating across various social service programs.

The Atlantic
Non-Academic Article

Facial Recognition Technology: Current Capabilities, Future Prospects, and Governance

This book explores the current capabilities, future possibilities, and necessary governance for facial recognition technology. The report discusses legal, societal, and ethical implications of the technology, and recommends ways that federal agencies and others developing and deploying the technology can mitigate potential harms and enact more comprehensive safeguards.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Book

Reimagining a U.S. Benefits System That Supports All Workers: Five Key Takeaways from Public and Private Benefit Leaders

This rapporteur’s report features 5 key takeaways from the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program's 2022 Benefits Forum with 55 experts in public and private benefits, including corporate leaders, policymakers, worker advocates, entrepreneurs, and researchers, who came together to brainstorm solutions for closing gaps in our public and private benefits and strengthening their design and delivery to support all workers and their families. The goals were to identify areas of agreement across stakeholders and imagine and invent the benefits solutions that workers need today, and in the future, to promote household financial security. Participants concluded on five key takeaways from the discussions: 1. Households Need a Core Bundle of Benefits 2. Technology is Important, but it’s not a Panacea 3. Narrative change around Benefits is critical 4. Government and Employers have Important, Shared Roles 5. Financial Security Outcomes of Benefits must be Measured

Aspen Institute Financial Security Program
Report

Helping More Than 1.3 Million Schoolchildren Access Pandemic EBT—in Just One Week

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the federal government authorized a new emergency program, Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), to replace school meals with money for groceries while schools are closed. Code for America describes its efforts to launch an accessible, online P-EBT application under an accelerated timeline due to to immense demand caused by the pandemic.

Code for America
Non-Academic Article

Eligible Low-Income Children Missing Out on Crucial WIC Benefits During Pandemic

The share of WIC-eligible families participating in the program has declined, though the number of individuals eligible for WIC has likely grown substantially. By working together, state WIC, Medicaid, and SNAP leaders can use data to assess the extent to which WIC is reaching eligible families and enroll more of them.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Report

Designing for Multilingual Translation

Complex benefits information creates unnecessary barriers for residents and navigators who must understand what’s relevant to them so they can receive benefits. For non-native English speakers, these barriers are exacerbated. This resource guide outlines approaches for translating content to improve equitable access to benefits.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
Report

Re-Envisioning Medicaid & CHIP as Anti-Racist Programs

This report puts forth an anti-racist reimagining of Medicaid and CHIP that actively reckons with the racist history of the Medicaid program and offers principles and recommendations that capitalize on the transformative potential of the programs. The principles center the voices and agency of program participants and prioritize direct community involvement at all stages of the policy process.

Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality
Academic Article

A Modernized System of Benefits is the Foundation for an Inclusive Economy

Report by the Aspen Institute discussing Benefits21, a multi-stakeholder, multi-faceted initiative to integrate and modernize benefits systems. This paper provides an overview of Benefits21, along with a discussion of the shortcomings of current public and private benefit systems.

Aspen Institute Financial Security Program
Report

Biden-Harris PMA Webinar: Streamlining Service Delivery for Five Life Experiences

The Performance.gov team hosted a webinar featuring federal customer experience (CX) changemakers from across government and focused on the nine CX projects that aim to address pain points learned about through human-centered design research.

Performance.gov
Video

Playbook For Ethical Tech Governance

Governments and leaders are required to regulate change while mitigating risk, so IFTF's Governance Futures Lab developed this decision-making guide for them. In a world where technologies are transforming faster than we can keep up, anticipatory governance is crucial in order to safeguard against both the intended and unintended effects of technological advances.

Institute For The Future
Toolkit

Who Did Not Get the Economic Impact Payments by Mid-to-Late May, and Why?

A study by the Urban Institute assessing why around 12 million individuals were at risk of not getting stimulus check payments as provided by the CARES Act.

Urban Institute
Case Study

What is Better Rules?

Better Rules utilizes multidisciplinary teams that include people skilled in policy, legal, business rules, programming, and service design working together in an iterative fashion to develop rules. Several outputs are produced using this approach, each offering an opportunity that can be fed back into that iterative process and re-used to solve other issues.

New Zealand Government
Non-Academic Article

Digital Authentication and Identity Proofing in Unemployment Insurance (UI) Applications

On May 19, 2023, the Digital Benefits Network published a new, open dataset documenting authentication and identity proofing requirements across online SNAP, WIC, TANF, Medicaid, child care (CCAP)applications, and unemployment insurance applications. This page includes data and observations about authentication and identity proofing steps specifically for online unemployment insurance applications.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
Dataset

What Happens When People Feel Ownership Over Their Benefits

An interview with Wendy De La Rosa, assistant professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. De La Rosa discusses how the concept of “psychological ownership” can encourage people to take up benefits they are eligible for.

Code for America
News

The Consequences of Decentralization: Inequality in Safety Net Provision in the Post–Welfare Reform Era

Study examining cross-state inequality in social safety net programs due to decentralized social provision. The authors find substantial cross-state inequality in provision, with increased inequality due to the devolution of authority under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA).

The University of Chicago Press Journals
Academic Article

Cross-Sector Insights From the Rules as Code Community of Practice

In this report, the Digital Benefits Network shares learnings from the Rules as Code Community of Practice. Insights are grouped along core themes expressed by cross-sector practitioners, including complexity in policies, interest in sharing knowledge, tools, and code, the need for more training and technical assistance, and willingness to collaborate on an open standard for writing rules and developing a shared code library.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation
Report

The IRS as a Benefits Administrator

The IRS is arguably the single most critical benefits administrator in the country, given its responsibility for tax credit-based relief programs, and COVID-19 relief payments. Despite these programs’ incredible progress in reducing poverty, and despite great strides by the IRS to implement them successfully, accessing IRS benefits remains too difficult for many low-income families. This report presents a comprehensive agenda to increase benefit coverage rates, simplify Americans’ interactions with the IRS, and decrease the portion of IRS benefits diverted to third parties.

New America
Report

What is Digital Identity?

This short resource introduces the term digital identity and provides an overview of core questions related to the topic.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation
Report

Access for All: Innovation for Equitable SNAP Delivery

This brief describes the current state of SNAP benefit delivery through the electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card, identifies the features necessary for SNAP benefit delivery to ensure consistency with principles of equity and inclusion, and explores how future SNAP benefit delivery can keep up with rapid changes in commercial payment infrastructure.

Urban Institute
Report

In Their Own Words: Parents Help Us Understand Barriers to Accessing WIC

Code for America explores the systems at play and the individuals experience of participants in WIC. By investigating overall quantitative trends in coverage, redemption, and retention rates, they use the data as a guide to build out a qualitative research plan that explains why such trends are occurring.

Code for America
News

Summer EBT Playbook

Playbook to implement a human-centered Summer EBT program in 2024 and beyond.

Code for America and No Kid Hungry
Toolkit

Recoding America at BenCon 2023

Jennifer Pahlka, Deputy CTO in President Obama’s Administration and author, shares her new book, Recoding America on how government must be equipped for digital delivery in order to meet ambitious policy goals. This video was recorded at the Digital Benefits Conference (BenCon) at Georgetown University on June 14, 2023.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation
Video

Digital Identity: Emerging Trends, Debates and Controversies

This academic review covers the broad range of arguments, trends, and patterns from the emerging field of digital identity scholarship.

Women in Identity
Other

Integrated Benefits Initiative: Best Practices in Texting

Code for America offers government agencies a general overview of getting started with implementing text messaging services for clear, responsive communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Code for America
Toolkit

Democratizing AI: Principles for Meaningful Public Participation

In this policy brief and video, Michele Gilman summarizes evidence-based recommendations for better structuring public participation processes for AI, and underscores the urgency of enacting them.

Data & Society
No items found.

Spanish Translation Guide for Unemployment Insurance

U.S. Digital Response’s Spanish Translation Guide for Unemployment Insurance provides practical guidelines and resources to help governments improve communication with Spanish speakers seeking access to unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.

U.S. Digital Response
Toolkit

Removing Barriers: Public Benefits and Voter Registration

The GetCalFresh team, the California Department of Social Services, and the California Secretary of State’s office worked together to create a simplified, accessible voter registration experience with clients. When people come to GetCalFresh.org, they are looking to apply for food assistance, so the state of California did not want voter registration to become an obstacle to the goal of getting food assistance. Thus, rather than directing clients to anther website, they offered to text clients a link to the CA Secretary of State’s voter website with directions on how to register.

Code for America
Non-Academic Article

Technology in the public sector and the future of government work

This report explores technologies that have the potential to significantly affect employment and job quality in the public sector, the factors that drive choices about which technologies are adopted and how they are implemented, how technology will change the experience of public sector work, and what kinds of interventions can protect against potential downsides of technology use in the public sector. The report categories technologies into five overlapping categories including manual task automation, process automation, automated decision-making systems, integrated data systems, and electronic monitoring.

UC Berkeley Labor Center
Report

Designing an API prototype for Montana WIC

This case study describes Nava's work with the state of Montana’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) agency to build an API prototype, which is part of Nava's larger work inform a national API standard.

Nava Public Benefit Corporation
Case Study

Digital Welfare States and Human Rights

In this report, the UN Special Rapporteur critically examines uses of digital technologies for administration of welfare programs across international contexts, and makes recommendations for using technology responsibly and ethically.

United Nations
Report

Agency Inventories of AI Use Cases

In accordance with Executive Order 13960, Promoting the Use of Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence in the Federal Government, Federal agencies began publishing their first annual inventories of artificial intelligence (AI) use cases in June 2022 and the following months. On this page, users can access inventories published to date.

National Artificial Intelligence Initiative
Government Documents

Improving Public Programs for Low-Income Tax Filers

To inform future efforts to bring more low-income tax filers into the tax system, this report focuses on the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and investigates the challenges and opportunities to better serve the American people and improve the experience of tax filing.

New America
Report

Sharing Government Software: How Agencies are Cooperatively Building Mission-Critical Software

This report reviews the features of intergovernmental software cooperatives, examines several different examples, looks at different categories of cooperatives and their governance structures, and inventories known cooperatives both within and outside of the United States. Agencies rethinking how they obtain technical functionality, budget officials looking to control costs and outcomes, or private funders that want to improve public services may find this report particularly useful.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
Report

Identity Fraud Victim Redress Process and Systems

This report provides specific actions the federal government could take to reduce identity fraud and establish a whole-of-government victim redress approach.

Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, MITRE
Report

Building the Tech-Enabled Safety Net: Public Benefits and Innovation Amid COVID-19

COVID-19 has highlighted the central role that technology plays in delivering essential services such as food, housing assistance, and unemployment insurance. How that technology is designed can make the difference between receiving or being denied the public benefits people are eligible for. The social safety net has been remade on the fly in response to COVID-19, but temporary patches to our systems aren’t sustainable. A growing field of tech-enabled safety net organizations have begun building tools that apply modern digital technology to the safety net. Getting people the services they’re eligible for requires the government to create policy and build technology that are inclusive, portable, interoperable, and people-centric. Read our new field scan, “Building the Tech-Enabled Safety Net” to understand a dozen fintech and civic tech organizations working across fourteen safety net programs and showing what’s possible when modern technology is married to a consumer insights perspective.

Aspen Institute Financial Security Program
Policy Brief

Designing for Connection: 5 Key Principles for IES Solutions That Put People First

Alluma outlines five key principles for a people-first approach to eligibility and enrollment systems.

Alluma
Non-Academic Article

Eligibility APIs Initiative

Documentation of 18F's and 10x's Eligibility APIs Initiative

18F
Apps and API

California Employment Development Department Identity Proofing Demo Day Presentation

This 2023 presentation from the California Employment Development Department details the user personas the agency used to evaluate vendor proposals for a new identity proofing contract.

California Employment Development Department (EDD)
Presentation

Medicaid Churn Toolkit

Benefits Data Trust (BDT)  has developed this “Medicaid Churn Toolkit” to guide Medicaid agencies and their partners in the design and implementation of efforts to reduce churn as they plan for the resumption of normal eligibility and enrollment actions after the after the initial COVID shock.

Benefits Data Trust
Toolkit

U.S. Digital Service (USDS) Medicaid Renewals Playbook

This playbook was created by the U.S. Digital Service as a rapid-response guide for civic technologists providing direct technical assistance to states during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) Unwinding. The content in this playbook focuses on strategies to rapidly decrease the burden of Medicaid renewals on members of the public and state staff.

U.S. Digital Service
No items found.

Child Care and Development Fund Equity Assessment Toolkit

This toolkit provides resources for training and technical assistance (T/TA) providers in the Child Care Technical Assistance Network (CCTAN) to help State, Territory, and Tribal CCDF Lead Agencies be prepared to conduct equity assessments.

Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Toolkit

Response to RFI: Center for WIC Modernization and Delivery

In this RFI response, APHSA draws on its work with members to align programs and agencies in human services to inform WIC modernization and delivery.

American Public Human Services Association (APHSA)
Other

Overcoming Barriers: Helping Self-Employed Applicants Access Their Full CalFresh Benefit

People who are self-employed can receive a higher CalFresh benefit amount because of a 40% automatic deduction for expenses. Yet, many who would be considered self-employed for the purpose of CalFresh don’t think of themselves as self-employed. Code for America researched how to help CalFresh applicants correctly identify themselves as self-employed. This article describes their various experiments and efforts to help people understand their status as self-employed.

Code for America
Non-Academic Article

Guide to robotic process automation

The Guide to Robotic Process Automation, including the RPA Playbook provides detailed guidance for federal agencies starting a new RPA program or evolving an existing one.

Digital.gov
Government Documents

Plain Language Is for Everyone, Even Experts

People want clear and concise information devoid of unnecessary jargon or complex terms. Plain language benefits both consumers and organizations.

Nielsen Norman Group
Toolkit

Using Human-Centered Design to Integrate Benefit Applications

This guide illustrates how agencies can use human-centered-design practices to revise and integrate benefits applications.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
Report

Algorithmic Impact Assessments and Accountability: The Co-construction of Impacts

Algorithmic impact assessments (AIAs) are an emergent form of accountability for organizations that build and deploy automated decision-support systems. This academic paper explores how to co-construct impacts that closely reflects harms, and emphasizes the need for input of various types of expertise and affected communities.

FAccT '21: Proceedings of the 2021 ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency
Academic Article

Prototyping a document management system for future emergencies

Research from the Department of Labor shows that document management systems reduce barriers for claimants and help states be more efficient. With additional improvements and investment, these systems can be even more effective in serving the public and reducing backlogs in times of crisis.

U.S. Department of Labor
Government Documents

Sprint 2 Report | Michigan Unemployment | Improving the delivery of unemployment insurance benefits

This project documents the work of Civilla and New America to improve the delivery of unemployment benefits for claimants in Michigan. This project is one phase of a larger body of work led by New America to improve the claimant and staff experience with unemployment insurance across the country.

Civilla, New America
Report

Renewed Principles of Delivery-Driven Government: Evolving and expanding our vision for how government should serve the public

Code for America initially introduced the concept of Delivery-Driven Government in 2018. This article refreshes its original principles and expands on what the organization has learned to make its concepts clearer.

Code for America
Non-Academic Article

Story-driven experience research on pandemic unemployment

Dana Chisnell describes work leading a team of researchers to interview people from across the US on their experiences applying for unemployment and other benefits during the pandemic.

Dana Chisnell
Presentation

Tips on Equitable Communication Practices in a Policy Context

Initially created to inform federal staff at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this tip sheet highlights the importance of using equitable communication and includes tips, guiding questions, and additional resources.

Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Toolkit

The difference between digital identity, identification, and ID

This style guide from Caribou Digital outlines how to talk about identity in a digital age.

Caribou Digital
Non-Academic Article

Accessible Benefits Information: Reducing Administrative Burden and Improving Equitable Access through Clear Communication About Safety Net Benefits

Complex benefits information creates unnecessary barriers for people trying to understand what’s relevant to them so that they can take immediate action to receive the benefits they need. As part of the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation’s series on documenting best practices in social safety net benefits access and delivery, this guide to Accessible Benefits Information offers case studies that show how groups in Michigan, New York City, and San José use plain language, multilingual translation, co-creation and testing with residents, and technology tools to provide better information about benefits. 

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
Report

Medicaid Strategies Making a Difference: A Spotlight on Rhode Island

Sharing lessons learned via the Medicaid Churn Learning Collaborative, which is working to reduce Medicaid churn, improve renewal processes for administrators, and protect health insurance coverage for children and families.

Benefits Data Trust
Video

The State Hub Roadmap: CDSS CalFresh and CalWORKs Streamlining Verifications

As part of its ongoing commitment to streamline access to benefits by Californians in need of assistance, the California Department of Social Services is exploring electronic options to help simplify and modernize the processes for obtaining required verifications for CalFresh and CalWORKs eligibility. This report lays out a set of options and opportunities for consideration, as well as a list of key verification considerations that would benefit both clients and staff.

Alluma
Report

Core Principles for TANF Modernization: A Legislative Framework for TANF Refo

Working with TANF administrators and human services leaders across the country, the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) embraces the call to reimagine how TANF can work in support of the families it serves and has established a set of TANF Modernization Core Principles to guide our vision for the future of TANF. Grounded in these Core Principles, APHSA’s members have laid out a legislative framework to unlock the potential of TANF. We call upon Congress to use this framework as a starting point to build common ground to achieve a TANF reauthorization that promotes a more equitable and prosperous future for all Americans.

American Public Human Services Association (APHSA)
Policy Brief

Mobile Fact Sheet

Fact sheet with various statistics about the mobile habits of Americans.

Pew Research Center
Fact Sheet

Fewer Burdens but Greater Inequality? Reevaluating the Safety Net through the Lens of Administrative Burden

This paper examines changes in administrative burden in U.S. social safety net programs, or the negative encounters with the state that people experience when trying to access and use the benefits for which they are eligible. While overall burdens have declined in most targeted programs, there is evidence of increasing inequality regarding who faces these burdens.

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Academic Article

Proof Points for Human-Centered Benefits Administration

Code for America’s Integrated Benefits Initiative has been working in partnership with the State of Colorado to demonstrate how user-centered approaches lead to measurably better delivery of safety net programs. This article describes their work with the state of Colorado in simplifying how clients report common life changes that can affect their eligibility.

Code for America
Non-Academic Article

Applying Rules as Code to the Social Safety Net

This short report outlines the promise and potential of digitizing benefits eligibility policy.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
Report

Lessons Churned: Measuring the Impact of Churn in Health and Human Services Programs on Participants and State and Local Agencies

Paper presenting preliminary lessons learned about SNAP churn derived from states participating in the Work Support Strategies project. It defines churn and outlines its consequences, explores approaches to measuring churns and looks at possible approaches to reduce churn.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Report

A Love Letter to the Parliamentary Counsel of the World

A communication piece illustrating the need for a small addition to how government publishes legislation. Examples given for EU and New Zealand law.

Digital Legal Systems Lab
Case Study

Dismantling the Invisible Wall: Breaking down barriers to pandemic relief

The CARES Act and Families First Coronavirus Response Act failed to reach millions of non-tax-filing Americans with low incomes and deliberately excluded undocumented immigrants, leaving entire communities without recourse. Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI) was a crucial program by the state of California for undocumented immigrants, and the California Department of Social Services partnered with Code for America to build a digital portal that would support community-based organizations in taking applications, tracking the various steps in the process, and activating clients’ $500 bank cards.

Code for America
Non-Academic Article

Going Big with Human-Centered Redesign

Redesigning benefits applications, renewals, and correspondence using human-centered design is one of the most impactful things state and local government agencies can do to ensure that all eligible residents can access social safety net resources. This guide includes practical insights for benefits administrators considering a comprehensive redesign of benefits delivery processes.

Civilla, Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
Toolkit

Increasing Security and Equity in Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)

There has been exponential growth in benefits theft by criminals who are “cloning and skimming” EBT cards, leaving thousands of families with drained accounts and limited recourse in getting back their benefits. In this webinar, a panel of experts discuss what states can do right now to improve EBT security, how to use data to analyze theft patterns, and how EBT payment technology needs to evolve to ensure efficiency, security, and dignity for beneficiaries.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
Video

Best Practices for Accessible Content

Drawing on the Beeck Center’s research on government, nonprofit, academic, and private sector organizations that are working to improve access to safety net benefits, this report highlights best practices for creating accessible benefits content.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
Report

Increasing Data Analytics Capacity in State TANF Agencies: The TANF Data Collaborative Approach

Government agencies at all levels collect administrative data in the course of their day-to-day operations. While such information has been used to determine effectiveness through program evaluations for many years, program administrators view it increasingly as a valuable resource that can also be used to improve program performance. For example, administrative data from employment and public benefits programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) can offer insights into families’ unmet needs and ways to improve services.

MDRC, Coleridge Initiative
Policy Brief

Build and Fund Staff Capacity in Your Government Agency to Integrate Benefits

This resource guide outlines one approach to integrating benefits: building the in-house capacity to champion and supervise benefits integration.

Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
Report

Increasing Stimulus Payment Take-up in California: Results from a Phone and Email Campaign

In Fall 2021, The People Lab and the California Policy Lab partnered with the California Department of Social Services and Code for America to conduct and evaluate a state-wide outreach effort aimed at delivering stimulus payments to low-income Californians.

The People Lab, California Policy Lab
Policy Brief

Use Cases for Robotic Process Automation in UI Claims Processing

For the past year, modernization teams at the Department of Labor (DOL) have been helping states identify opportunities to automate rote, non-discretionary, manual tasks, with the goal of helping them speed up the time that it takes to process claims. This post provides more context on Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and potential use cases in unemployment insurance.

U.S. Department of Labor
Government Documents

Keynote Eric Mill - The Future of Strong Authentication, in the US Government and Beyond

In this keynote presentation, Eric Mill, Senior Advisor at the Office of Budget and Management, discusses the future of authentication in federal government, including zero trust security priorities. This video comes from the Better Identity Coalition’s 2022 policy forum, “Identity, Authentication, and the Road Ahead."

Better Identity Coalition
Video

Designing Better Programs for Young Parents & Families

This piece highlights lessons learned from the first phase of The Southeastern Cohort on Young Parents and Families—an effort focused on improving economic stability and well-being outcomes for young parent families (January to September 2020)—which has focused on interagency collaboration and community engagement to develop plans for improving policies and program practices to support young parent families. The lessons reflected center on: understanding and engaging young parents, continuous improvement through data and feedback, collaborating and aligning services, and insights related to providing services during COVID-19. These insights can guide government agencies, service providers, or others interested in making efforts at better understanding and supporting young families in their communities through tailored programs and services.

Third Sector, American Public Human Services Association (APHSA)
Report

18F Agile-based project approach

18F describes its Agile-based project approach combining iterative software development, product management, user-centered design, and DevOps.

18F
Toolkit

Maximizing the impact of direct cash transfers to young people: A policy toolkit

Chapin Hall collaborated with national policy experts, practitioners, and young adults with lived experience of homelessness to create a policy toolkit where tax, public benefits, and educational aid implications for young people participating in Direct Cash Transfer (DCT) programs are laid out in one place.

Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
Toolkit

Guide on Advancing Equity through Quantitative Analysis

Initially created to inform federal staff at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this guide explores opportunities to advance equity in quantitative analysis, including by recognizing common biases (e.g., research and measurement bias). The guide also discusses specific quantitative methods and tools to help quantitative analyses address equity.

Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Government Documents

Trustworthy AI (TAI) Playbook

This playbook is an initial step by the Office of the Chief AI Officer (OCAIO) to support trustworthy AI development.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Toolkit

What is a (Digital) Identity Wallet? A Systematic Literature Review

There is a growing interest in the concept of digital wallets, but no generally accepted definition of the concept or its features. This systematic review examines prior studies to offer a definition of digital identity wallets.

Annual Computers, Software, and Applications Conference (COMPSAC)
Academic Article

Who Audits the Auditors? Recommendations from a Field Scan of the Algorithmic Auditing Ecosystem

Through a field scan, this paper identifies emerging best practices as well as methods and tools that are becoming commonplace, and enumerates common barriers to leveraging algorithmic audits as effective accountability mechanisms.

FAccT '22: Proceedings of the 2022 ACM Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency
Academic Article

Digital Legal Systems Lab

A vision for place for collaborating on digital law and policy grounded experimentation, case studies ,and moving beyond the theoretical.

Digital Legal Systems Lab
Organization Website

Mapping the Applicant Experience of Benefit Enrollment

Applicants to federal aid programs face numerous barriers in accessing benefits they are eligible for. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare conducted an extensive qualitative user research study to better understand applicant experience in enrolling in public assistance programs. Based on the results, the study emphasizes the need for simplified, streamlined and less burdensome application processes.

U.S. Digital Service, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Report

Wisconsin Partners Up for Unemployment System Overhaul

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development announces a partnership with 18F, an office within the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services, to begin a full-scale modernization of its unemployment insurance (UI) system.

Government Technology
Non-Academic Article

The Transformative Power of a People-Centered, Digital-First Safety Net

Code for America discusses the importance of a people-centered, digital-first safety net. Tools of technology, policy, and good implementation can advance a bold vision that will allow the nation to push through the end of the COVID-19 crisis.

Code for America
Non-Academic Article

5 Things to Know About SNAP Employment & Training

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is well known for providing nutrition support for individuals and families with low incomes. The lesser-known SNAP Employment and Training Program (SNAP E&T) helps eligible participants develop skills to achieve economic mobility. SNAP E&T provides employability assessments, training, case management, transportation, child care and other services and supports to help participants attain sustainable employment. State legislatures have an opportunity to support economic recovery and decrease food insecurity among individuals and families by investing in the SNAP E&T program, including with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
Policy Brief
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