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

04/08/2011

Description

This website’s general benefit screener identifies a broad range of programs for which users may be eligible. Because some programs have complicated eligibility rules, users may also complete a more specific eligibility check for each program in which they are interested and for which the benefits screener suggests they may be eligible. The eligibility check provides a more definite (but still unofficial) indication of eligibility. For certain programs, users may skip the benefit screener and proceed directly to the eligibility check. An eligibility check for each program in the effort is built into the system. Users submit applications for benefits separately.

MassResources.org, implemented statewide in 2003, was developed by Community Resources Information, Inc. (CRI), a nonprofit whose mission is to develop websites that provide comprehensive information on state and local resources relevant to low- and moderate-income families and individuals of all ages. The predecessor of MassResources.org was a local website for the city of Worcester, WorcesterResources.org, implemented in 2001. The local and statewide efforts operate in the same way.

CRI licenses the MassResources.org as a template to not-for-profit organizations in other states. The license is provided to one organization (or a partnership of organizations) per state. CRI oversees the hosting of the website but leaves it to the licensee to develop and operate the new site. This approach was used in New Mexico, leading to the www.NewMexicoResources.org. This website does not include a benefit screener, and an eligibility check is available for SNAP only. It is not built into the system but provides links to eligibility screening tools hosted on other websites (such as YesNM or USDA’s SNAP Eligibility Screening Tool).

Key benefit programs

TANF, SNAP, Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare Extra Help, WIC, SSI/DI, LIHEAP, EITC, school meal programs, federal housing assistance programs, veterans’ pension assistance

Other benefit programs

General Assistance, prescription drug assistance, unemployment insurance, Medicare Savings Program, Meals on Wheels, utility shutoff protection

Key technological components

Online screener/benefits calculator

Other key components

None known

Target population

General low-income population

Geographic reach

Multiple states

State/s (abbreviation)

MA, NM

Locality (cities or counties)

Worcester, MA has a local version (www.WorcesterResources.org)

Selected sources of information 

http://www.massresources.org/

http://www.worcesterresources.org/

http://www.newmexicoresources.org/

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

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