Family Finances

Reimagining a U.S. Benefits System That Supports All Workers: Five Key Takeaways from Public and Private Benefit Leaders

September 12, 2022  • Financial Security Program

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In early April 2022, the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program (Aspen FSP) convened its inaugural Benefits21 Leadership Forum (Forum) as part of Benefits21, Aspen FSP’s multi-year, multi-stakeholder initiative to integrate and modernize the nation’s public and private benefits systems. Over the course of two days, public and private sector leaders converged on the importance of looking holistically at the performance of our public and private benefit systems and in the need to create a modernized, integrated system of benefits centered on household financial security. 

This rapporteur’s report  features 5 key takeaways from our Forum with 55 experts in public and private benefits, including corporate leaders, policymakers, worker advocates, entrepreneurs, and researchers, who came together to brainstorm solutions for closing gaps in our public and private benefits and strengthening their design and delivery to support all workers and their families.. The goals were to identify areas of agreement across stakeholders and imagine and invent the benefits solutions that workers need today, and in the future, to promote household financial security.

Participants concluded on five key takeaways from the discussions:

  1. Households Need a Core Bundle of Benefits
  2. Technology is iImportant, but it’s not a Panacea
  3. Narrative change around Benefits is critical
  4. Government and Employers have Important, Shared Roles
  5. Financial Security Outcomes of Benefits must be Measured

View these two other publications which are part of the 2022 work of Benefits21 to understand the foundational role benefits play in supporting household financial security, assess how public and workplace benefits perform, and determine the core benefits needed to ensure overall well-being. 

Financial Security at the Core identifies a core set of person-centered benefits that all workers need to support their well-being. The Aspen FSP has undertaken  multi-method research activities to inform the core set, which integrated insights from the 2022 Benefits21 Scorecard, focus groups with benefit leaders at the 2022 Benefits21 Leadership Forum, and conversations with workers with lived experiences in accessing and using our public and workplace benefit systems.

The 2022 Benefits Scorecard, which was a resource used to help facilitate the conversation at the 2022 Benefits21 Leadership Forum, creates a framework to assess the performance of 22 prevalent public and private benefits in supporting worker financial security. Aspen FSP’s new scorecard indicates which benefits are performing well for workers and how policymakers, employers and benefit providers can close critical benefit gaps to increase financial security outcomes and modernize the U.S. benefits system to inclusively and equitably support all workers and their families.


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