Watch: How a Complicated Benefits System Lets Some Fall Through the Safety Net

We spoke to PBS NewsHour for a segment on the difficulties of navigating benefits in their special series on America’s Safety Net
a phone that says apply for benefits easily online

Many people who qualify for government assistance struggle to get and maintain benefits because it can be difficult to navigate the system. Forms with dozens of pages, an overwhelming list of verification documents, and questions that are written in confusing legalease—all these elements add up to a difficult experience when you’re already balancing a job, childcare, and other obligations. 

Some people who have been through the system spoke with PBS this week for their series on America’s safety net. They described how hard it can be to get benefits they’re eligible for like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits, and Medicaid. 

To hear from the perspective of those working to make these benefits easier to access, PBS also spoke to Aurelle Amram, Code for America’s Senior Director of Growth and Partnerships.

Watch the full interview here:

Amram said there’s hope for a better future—and to prove it, pointed to Code for America’s work with Minnesota on MNBenefits, an integrated benefits application that makes it easy to apply for nine programs at once. Work like this that simplifies and shortens the application process is more urgent than ever, she explained.

There’s $80 billion left on the table every single year because of how hard it is to navigate these hurdles. 
Aurelle Amram, Code for America’s Senior Director of Growth and Partnerships

Code for America is working with states across the country on similar projects through our Safety Net Innovation Lab. We’re dedicated to making the process of claiming benefits simple and dignified, with an improved experience for clients and caseworkers alike.

Are you working to improve access to safety net benefits? Partner with us!

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