Family Finances

Government-to-Person Payment Systems: A Primer

September 26, 2023  • Rachel Black & Bianca Sofia Lopez

Download Publication
View this Publication
Download PDF

Direct cash payments impact millions of U.S. households, playing a routine role in combating food insecurity, providing income support to retirees or workers unable to work due to a disability, and a time-tested strategy for macroeconomic stabilization during downturns. These critical functions underscore the stakes of Government-to-Payment (G2P) systems to function effectively. Unfortunately, evidence from across programs in government demonstrates that the different payment delivery systems in the U.S., while essentially performing the same task, perform unevenly at best. 

The aim of this primer is to provide leaders—especially federal policymakers and program administrators—broadly applicable, actionable insights for improving performance across G2P payment systems. In particular, we find specific impact opportunities for actors across these systems to exercise existing levers to improve performance across three key Performance Indicators:

  1. Reach: The ability of participants to access and receive benefits. 
  2. Ease: The level of friction involved in accessing and receiving benefits. 
  3. Usefulness: The level of consumer protections and functionality payment products provide.

Download the full report and view the challenges and opportunities within the current G2P systems, featuring two journey maps that break down these processes.