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Moving to 21st-Century Public Benefits: Emerging Options, Great Promise, and Key Challenges

May 17, 2012

We live in an age of great technology, when information can be shared instantly. And yet, our current models of determining eligibility for public benefits like Medicaid and heating assistance remain outdated and create multiple barriers for those who need government assistance to meet basic needs. These antiquated systems are less efficient and add up to higher costs for states, including many that are struggling with strapped budgets. It doesn’t have be this way, though. 

Moving to 21st-Century Public Benefits: Emerging Options, Great Promise, and Key Challenges, a new paper written by Stan Dorn, senior fellow at the Urban Institute and Elizabeth Lower-Basch, senior policy analyst at CLASP, for the Coalition for Access and Opportunity, illustrates how sharing data and basing eligibility decisions on existing information can cut administrative costs, help more families in need of assistance access  benefits and strengthen programs.