Family Finances

Building the Tech-Enabled Safety Net: Public Benefits and Innovation Amid COVID-19

May 24, 2021  • Financial Security Program & Justin King

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COVID-19 has highlighted the central role that technology plays in delivering essential services such as food, housing assistance, and unemployment insurance. How that technology is designed can make the difference between receiving or being denied the public benefits people are eligible for. The social safety net has been remade on the fly in response to COVID-19, but temporary patches to our systems aren’t sustainable.

A growing field of tech-enabled safety net organizations have begun building tools that apply modern digital technology to the safety net. Getting people the services they’re eligible for requires the government to create policy and build technology that are inclusive, portable, interoperable, and people-centric. Read our new field scan, “Building the Tech-Enabled Safety Net” to understand a dozen fintech and civic tech organizations working across fourteen safety net programs and showing what’s possible when modern technology is married to a consumer insights perspective.

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