Social Safety Net

Our vision for a resilient and equitable social safety net

At Code for America, we believe that government can and should work well for all people—and the mindful use of technology makes it possible. But technology alone is not the solution. We put people first.

Illustration of an adult and children sitting around a computer

Right now, the people who need access to government benefits are not included in the design of government programs and services. For too many people, the process of applying for and maintaining safety net benefits, such as food assistance, requires navigating a system with many barriers that push them further away from basic needs. More than 37 million people remain in poverty while $60 billion in available public benefits is left on the table.

Code for America’s Safety Net Innovation Lab is partnering with 15 state governments to reimagine and rebuild delivery of equitable and accessible benefits.

Our vision: a human-centered safety net—one that is simple and easy for people to access. A human-centered safety net can transform lives in meaningful, measurable ways—making our systems and society more equitable and resilient.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the social safety net was already suffering under the weight of antiquated technological systems, deeply entrenched inequities, and high administrative burdens for people and states alike. The stunning upheaval of 2020 left millions of people in need of assistance and pushed existing safety net systems to the brink of their capacity. The need for a resilient and equitable social safety net has never been more urgent. We’ve launched the Safety Net Innovation Lab to partner with state leaders working to address these challenges and build the path forward together.

Safety Net Focus Areas

Food benefits
Improving access to food assistance and delivery of benefits.
Learn more
Integrated benefits applications
Making it easier for people and families to access all their benefits in one place.
Learn more
Training and capacity building
Helping government serve people in a more human-centered way.
Learn more

Is your state agency or organization ready to rethink the safety net? Looking for insights and ideas? Let’s get in touch

Can you help us ensure people get the benefits they deserve?

Donate today to support our work building a more resilient and equitable safety net.