Improving Access to Public Benefits: Helping Eligible Individuals and Families Get the Income Supports They Need

Improving Access to Public Benefits: Helping Eligible Individuals and Families Get the Income Supports They Need

On the heels of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which increased resources available for safety-net programs such as food stamps, unemployment insurance, and housing subsidies for low-income families, the Open Society Institute and the Annie E. Casey and Ford foundations have issued a report that examines why some families are unable to gain access to and receive the benefits for which they are eligible. The report, Improving Access to Public Benefits: Helping Eligible Individuals and Families Get the Income Supports They Need (16 pages, PDF), found that much of the problem can be attributed to the fact that benefits are provided through an array of programs with complex eligibility requirements and are administered by a web of state, local, and federal agencies. The report argues that there is a need for both grantmakers and government agencies to create more programs that low-income families can access easily and effectively.