What it means

All touchpoints in the eligibility process should be quick, easy to understand, and clearly communicate outcomes and next steps. Clients should be guided through these simple actions in a way that asks clearly for necessary information and reduces errors in applications and renewals, saving time and confusion for caseworkers who can then help more clients through the process.

Online, we should create an experience that is user-friendly, and that doesn’t require overly complex interactions. Many clients are eligible for multiple benefits programs that require the same documentation, and the process of applying for them should be streamlined.

Why it matters

Clients say:

“I need to apply for SNAP, Medicaid, and WIC in my state, but that would take over two hours to complete—and that’s not even including scheduling the interview or reaching out for help. Between my two jobs and taking care of my kids, I don’t have enough time to complete this complicated process.”

How to do it

1. Integrate multiple benefits programs into one seamless application.

Make it simple for clients to apply to multiple programs at once by bringing all applications into one central, easily accessible online portal.

  • Create one entry point into multiple programs with one clean homepage that introduces all programs.
  • Instead of making clients tell you which programs they want to apply to, let them tell you about their circumstances and then tell them which programs they’re eligible for.
  • Coordinate correspondence and processes for the various programs. For instance, coordinate renewal timelines so that clients don’t need to renew separately for different programs just weeks apart.
  • Address information silos: Any caseworker should be able to answer basic questions about the major benefits programs, not just the one they administer.

2. Enable document upload in the application.

Applicants should be able to quickly and easily submit supporting documents

  • Take advantage of the fact that most phones have a camera: web applications should enable residents to take photos of documents and upload them directly.
  • If clients do not have their documents with them at the time of application, they should receive simple reminders to upload documents, and be provided with an easy way to upload them via mobile phone at a later time.

3. Promote a simple and clean user workflow in all forms and applications.

Make it as easy as possible to work through all of the questions in an application or form.

  • Phrase simple, short and direct questions and then provide clarifying context in visually distinct copy beneath the primary question.
  • Sometimes less is more: Include only a few prompts or questions per screen to avoid confusion.
  • Each screen should have a single, obvious, primary call to action.
  • Organize questions around topics, not people: ask all questions about a given topic—health, money, housing, etc.—collectively for all applicants or household members instead of going person-by-person.
  • When asking about household size, always clarify that the applicant should include themselves. Patiently explain program-specific definitions of household composition.
  • On the application, note when certain piece of information will help their case and when it’s ok if they don’t have exact numbers.
  • Use existing data where possible. Don’t ask a client for information that you already have.
  • No dead ends: Allow people to progress through and submit the application even if they can’t answer a question.

What we measure

Decreased Time to Completion

Enrollment applications and renewals should be completed in under 20 minutes, even for multiple programs.

Improved Accuracy of Verifications

Procedural or administrative denials should impact less than 20% of eligible applicants.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction ratings should be at least 80% across all channels.

Success Stories