In 2010, ASPE partnered with ACF and the HHS Center for Partnerships to fund the research study, “Helping Vulnerable Populations Access Public Benefits through Web-based Tools and Outreach.” Interest in this topic stemmed from the explosion of web-based technologies in recent years that have been reinventing the way government programs connect with potential benefit applicants and participants. A greater understanding of the array of web-based tools in use could inform the design and development of new benefits access initiatives so they build on past experiences and are better prepared to meet challenges in serving vulnerable populations. The funding offices contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. (MPR) to conduct the study, which ran from September 2010 to December 2011.
The study had two main components: a summary, or scan, of existing private and public sector benefits access initiatives across the country, and an in-depth case study of selected benefits access tools in eight locations. Products from the study include:
- Promoting Public Benefits Access Through Web-Based Tools and Outreach: A National Scan of Efforts, April 2011. By Jacqueline Kauff, Emily Sama-Miller, and Elizabeth Makowsky, MPR
This two volume report is a summary of existing web-based benefits access tools across the country, listed by state.
- Web-Based Screeners and Applications: Potential Tools for Improving Benefit Access and Program Efficiency, Issue Brief, September 2011. By Emily Sama-Miller and Jacqueline Kauff, MPR
This Issue Brief highlights the design and operation of web-based tools from the case study component of the project.
- Promoting Public Benefits Access Through Web-Based Tools and Outreach, Final Report, December 2011. By Jacqueline Kauff, Emily Sama-Miller, Gretchen Rowe, Cicely Thomas, and Libby Makowsky, MPR
This summary report details the design, implementation, outreach strategies, technology and financial considerations, outcome measures, and replicability of the eight case study initiatives and addresses ways to sustain and expand the use of web-based benefits access tools.
- Web-Based Benefits Access Tools: Mitigating Barriers for Special Needs Populations,
This is a special topic paper addressing how benefits access tools can be designed to serve best some of the most vulnerable groups.