Family Finances

Stress Test: People, Technology, and the Safety Net In Response To Covid-19

August 18, 2020  • Justin King & Financial Security Program

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COVID-19 jolted the American economy — and it caused at least 30 million Americans to lose their jobs or have their working hours curtailed by April. The speed and volume of those suddenly un- and under-employed has been unprecedented, and it has resulted in a remarkable amount of stress on the nation’s social safety net.

SNAP and other safety net supports administered by state governments struggle to meet the needs of millions of people.  Some state online applications systems are so poorly designed that applicants remain stuck trying to access support weeks and months after beginning the application process.

What can state human service administrators and policymakers do to build accessible intake and application systems?  How should we re-design the safety net?  Read the brief to better understand how to create a safety net that is people-centered, tech-enabled, and aligned with private benefit systems.