Family Finances

Highlighting Innovative Actions to Improve Public Benefits Delivery

April 8, 2024  • Sohrab Kohli & Tim Shaw

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At the 2024 Financial Resilience Summit, an event hosted by the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program and the Office of Management and Budget, federal, state, local, and social sector leaders came together to collaborate on solutions that bolster access to critical public benefits and celebrate their success and progress to date.

Below, we raise up a range of examples of state agencies and partners implementing policies, strengthening benefits access, making organizational and systemic improvements, leveraging innovative data strategies, and conducting rigorous evaluations, all in service of enhancing and expanding public benefits delivery. We celebrate these organizations for leading the way on increasing benefits access and improving benefits delivery and are excited to share their stories of success alongside the Financial Resilience Summit.

While this is not an exhaustive list of actions by participating states and nonprofit organizations, it does offer significant examples with potential for meaningful impact. Please see our detailed catalog for more information about these efforts.

View the detailed catalog

Is your state or organization interested in connecting with any of these groups, learning more about implementing these programs in your state, or ready to make your own commitment? If so, contact Tim Shaw, Policy Director for Aspen FSP, to learn more and share your commitment.

We also encourage you to sign up for Aspen FSP newsletters to stay abreast of the important work unfolding around public benefits and financial security.

American Public Human Services Association, Nonprofit

  • Building state capacity for customer-centered health, human services, and labor systems alignment
  • Convening leaders, practitioners, and experts to build a framework for family-centered child support
  • Leading a community of practice for child welfare and economic assistance agency practitioners

Aspen Institute Financial Security Program, Nonprofit

  • Supported by a grant from the Families and Workers Fund, convening state benefits executives from eight states to build a more responsive and accessible safety net
  • Co-hosting benefits working groups with leaders from 25+ states and experts from the federal government and nonprofits

Benefits Data Trust, Nonprofit working in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington

  • Supported by a grant from the Families and Workers Fund, simplifying SNAP applications through telephonic signatures in six states
  • Assisted Rhode Island in implementing Medicaid waivers through unwinding
  • Analyzed duplicative questions across benefit program applications to support simplification in Washington

CLASP, Nonprofit working in Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina

  • Assisted Maryland in implementing presumptive eligibility for childcare assistance
  • Working in Mississippi and North Carolina to authentically engage the community in developing policy priorities

Code for America, Nonprofit working in Colorado, Louisiana

  • Working with Colorado to simplify online benefits applications and management
  • Running a digital assistant pilot in Louisiana to help people apply for SNAP and cross-enroll in other benefits

Georgetown University – Beeck Center, Nonprofit working in Colorado, Maryland, Pennsylvania

  • Data Labs assisted with data sharing to support Colorado housing and homelessness programs
  • Digital Benefits Network conducts research and convenes practitioners to support better digital delivery of public benefits
  • Digital Benefits Network and APHSA host the Digital Benefits Hub, an open source library of promising practices benefits delivery
  • Digital Service Network provides research and support to state digital service teams

New America – New Practice Lab, Nonprofit working in Maryland, New Jersey

  • Working with Maryland and New Jersey on the design and delivery of their paid family leave programs

Share Our Strength, Nonprofit

  • Convening key stakeholders with APHSA to increase SNAP access for multilingual families
  • With APHSA, invested in six states to increase SNAP and WIC enrollment
  • Supported by a grant from the Families and Workers Fund and in partnership with APHSA and Code for America, improving systems to implement Summer EBT

US Digital Response, Nonprofit 

  • Supported by a grant from the Families and Workers Fund, collaborated with New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development to create plain language forms in English and Spanish
  • Working with states to recruit and build digital service teams
  • Providing procurement support to states

California Department of Health Care Services, State Agency

  • Expanded Medi-Cal (Medicaid) to new populations
  • Expanded efforts to provide continuous Medicaid coverage after public health emergency unwinding
  • Provided expanded health care access to Medi-Cal beneficiaries through CalAIM

California Department of Social Services, State Agency

  • Implemented ex parte flexibility, significantly increasing Medicaid renewals
  • Implementing a new Child Care Subsidy methodology to increase access and affordability
  • Adopted new language access policy across CalHHS programs

California Health & Human Services Agency, State Agency

  • Automated income-based waivers to improve Medi-Cal ex parte renewals

Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, State Agency

  • Launched a redesigned cross-program, human-centered website
  • Enabling cross-agency data sharing
  • Conducting a Business Process Redesign to improve SNAP accuracy and timelines
  • Rebuilding its community-based services and creating a network of local navigators
  • Extended public health emergency flexibility allowing parents and family members to be paid caregivers

New York State Office of Children & Family Services, State Agency

  • Launched a direct cash pilot program for families at risk for child welfare engagement

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, State Agency

  • Built cross-agency enrollment and data infrastructure between Medicaid, SNAP, and WIC
  • Enhanced multi-channel SNAP access through texting and web enhancements
  • Working to implement SNAP non-merit flexibility to improve processing times

Oregon Department of Human Services, State Agency

  • Improved multimodal access to benefits
  • Improving language access (moving to include more than 100 languages for services)
  • Streamlining benefits access procedures
  • Plans to expand eligibility to benefits, including implementing Summer EBT
  • Committed to exploring technology to automate benefits access procedures

Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services, State Agency

  • Established cross-agency coordination of Medicaid unwinding outreach
  • Extended public health emergency flexibilities for access to services and supports
  • Implemented a data sharing ecosystem and will soon launch an associated early intervention dashboard

Virginia Department of Social Services, State Agency

  • Planning to implement a user-centered redesign of its benefits applications
  • Implementing Summer EBT
  • Successfully launched Low Income Household Water Assistance Program

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, State Agency

  • Automating renewals when ongoing eligibility can be determined
  • Working on human-centered integrated eligibility and application design
  • Expanded TANF time limit exemptions
  • Piloting a statewide network of community assemblies to capture input from low-income and BIPOC communities
  • Enabling collaboration between social services, Medicaid, and child welfare agencies
  • Expanding presumptive Medicaid eligibility and Medicaid alternative programs
  • Planning to expand Diversion Cash Assistance