Promoting Public Benefits Access Through Web-Based Tools and Outreach: A National Scan of Efforts. Volume II: Detailed Summary Tables of Benefits Access Efforts. The Benefit Bank

04/08/2011

Description

The Benefit Bank (TBB) is a web-based program offering assistance from counselors who help individuals and families access food, health care, tax, and community social supports. The effort was developed by Solutions for Progress, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization. A version of TBB was initially implemented in Pennsylvania in 2002 and in its current form in 2005. A separate version of this tool, called The Benefit Bank Self Serve, is a self-service web-based tool that enables individuals and families in all states to file their federal taxes.

In each state where TBB operates, benefit counselors at a range of service organizations (the United Way, faith-based programs, etc.) walk clients through the screener. Solutions for Progress tailors the tool to provide access to a specific (and varied) range of benefits in each participating state. Each state has a main affiliate organization that is responsible for local training of TBB counselors and deploying the effort across multiple organizations that typically work with low-income individuals and families. In many states, the screening tool interfaces directly with state and local online applications for benefits, and where it does not, the benefit counselors provide referrals and application assistance as needed.

An effort to disseminate TBB nationally, called the Work Supports Initiative (WSI), is sponsored by MDC (www.mdcinc.org) and operates through state affiliates consisting of one or more nonprofit organizations that use TBB to conduct outreach. State affiliates receive strategic advice, training, coaching, and technical assistance from WSI’s national partners.

Key benefit programs

TANF; SNAP; Medicaid; CHIP; Medicare Extra Help; WIC; SSI/DI; LIHEAP; EITC; School meal programs; Federal child care assistance

Other benefit programs

Prescription drug assistance; Property tax and rent rebate programs; State low-income tax credits; Medicare; Medicare Savings Program; FAFSA; Voter registration; State childcare subsidy

Key technological components

Online application that can be sent electronically; screener/benefits calculator

Other key components

Outreach conducted by for-profit or nonprofit partners; application assistance

Target population

General low-income population

Geographic reach

Multiple states

State/s (abbreviation)

AR, FL, IN, KS, ME, MS, NC, OH, PA, SC

Locality (cities or counties)

 

Selected sources of information

http://www.thebenefitbank.com/node

Ohio

http://www.oashf.org/programs/programs.php?id=1

http://www.mdcinc.org/docs/OU-Report.pdf

Pennsylvania

http://www.thebenefitbank.com/TBBPA

General

http://www.nlc.org/ASSETS/E2DF31BA4AFF4ADEB19BA434142B0545/iyefscreeningtools.pdf

https://secure.thebenefitbank.com/ums?task=quick_check

https://selfserve.thebenefitbank.com/

https://secure.thebenefitbank.com/ums?task=quick_check

http://www.philasocialinnovations.org/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=172%3Asolutions-for-progress-and-the-benefit-bank-a-community-based-approach-to-individual-self-sufficiency&catid=21%3Afeatured-social-innovations&Itemid=35&showall=1

Work Supports Initiative: http://www.mdcinc.org/docs/WSI-Description.pdf

 

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