Promoting Public Benefits Access Through Web-Based Tools and Outreach: A National Scan of Efforts. Volume I: Background, Efforts in Brief, and Related Initiatives. II. Summary of Benefits Access Efforts


Eighty-six efforts fall within the scope of this study, as described in the previous chapter. For clarity of presentation, we divided the efforts into two groups. The first group includes efforts that are hosted on the websites of public agencies. The second group includes efforts hosted on the websites of private or quasi-governmental agencies. Each category is discussed in broad terms in Sections A and B below; Section C presents some key characteristics across efforts. Individual summaries of each publicly hosted effort are presented in Section A of Volume II and of each privately hosted effort in Section B of Volume II.[8] The former are presented by state and then alphabetically by the name of the effort to the extent there is more than one effort within a state. The latter are presented alphabetically by the name of the effort.

The individual summaries in Volume II include brief descriptions of each effort along with the key characteristics of and references to additional information on each. Key characteristics include the following:

  • Key benefit programs. Federally funded benefits programs to which the effort promotes access and which qualified the effort for the scan.
  • Other benefit programs. Other programs to which the effort promotes access such as state- or locally funded programs or federally funded programs not specifically targeted to the low-income population.
  • Key technological components. Describes how the effort uses web-based technology—specifically the availability of screeners/benefit calculators, online applications that must be printed and delivered to relevant program office(s), and online applications that may be submitted electronically—and systems integration to promote access. Each summary indicates all of the effort’s capabilities even if the technological components vary across benefit program included in the initiative. For instance, when a summary indicates the availability of an online application that can be submitted electronically, it is not always the case (in fact, often not the case) that online applications can be submitted electronically for each of the programs listed in the summary; rather, online applications can be submitted electronically for at least one of the programs listed in the summary.[9]
  • Other key components. Describes other important aspects of the effort that do not rely on web-based IT, including outreach and application assistance.
  • Target population. Identifies whether the effort is targeted broadly to all low-income individuals and families or to specific subsets of the low-income population—for example, seniors, individuals with disabilities, or families with children.
  • Geographic reach. Identifies whether the effort operates nationally or within specific states or localities (counties or cities).
  • States. States in which the effort operates, if not nationwide.
  • Locality. Local areas in which the effort operations, if not statewide.
  • Other sources of information.Additional websites and printed material about the effort, including background information and any available outcome data.

The summaries are not intended to promote any efforts, but to simply provide a snapshot of efforts in place. The inclusion of efforts in Volume II in no way indicates an endorsement of the efforts by HHS or Mathematica.[10]

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