Promoting Public Benefits Access Through Web-Based Tools and Outreach: A National Scan of Efforts. Volume II: Detailed Summary Tables of Benefits Access Efforts. HelpEngen (formerly RealBenefits)



HelpEngen, operated by TransEngen since 2008, is a web-based platform that allows health care, public, and community-based organizations to connect individuals to federal, state, and local benefits programs.

Key features include (1) eligibility assessment: targeted screening for multiple programs simultaneously through a single online interview that runs 30 minutes; (2) application preparation: generates completed hard copy applications for delivery to program offices and allows electronic submission of applications where accepted by state agencies; and (3) management information: real-time access to all cases filed as well as application status and history to help staff manage follow up.

Most recently (in 2010), HelpEngen was implemented in CT as and in Franklin, TN, through Passport Health Communications.

Before HelpEngen was acquired by TransEngen it was known as RealBenefits and was a wholly owned subsidiary of the national non-profit consumer advocacy organization, Community Catalyst. Community Catalyst developed this web-based screening- and enrollment-assistance software in 2002, initially implementing it in Chicago. It had also developed (in the late 1990s) RealBenefits’ predecessor, a benefits screening tool called MicroMax, and implemented that tool in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Key benefit programs

TANF, SNAP, Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare Extra Help, WIC, SSI/DI, LIHEAP, EITC

Other benefit programs

Prescription drug assistance, state low-income tax credits, Medicare Savings Program, state child care subsidy, Connecticut Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program

Key technological components

Online application that can be submitted electronically; online application that is printed and submitted on paper; online 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 localities

State/s (abbreviation)


Locality (cities or counties)

Middletown, CT; Miami FL; Chicago, IL; Dorchester, MA; Statewide in ME; Detroit, MI; Franklin, TN

Selected sources of information

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