Demand Grows For Electronic Benefits Access


Providing earned benefits and other human services information through mobile applications according to a recent survey from Accenture. Nearly half of respondents (46%) said they would be likely to download and use a mobile application for obtaining services. When survey respondents were asked if they would be interested in mobile access to such day-to-day activities as checking their benefits, applying for assistance or submitting questions to caseworkers, the number of those who said they would likely use a mobile app jumped to 64%.

Survey data shows that most people get their benefits information over the phone or through office visits. Only 9% of respondents are going online to get the information they need about benefits. Taken together, these data points could point to improvements in cost and time efficiency by moving more of the process to mobile or online offerings.

Pennsylvania has already taken part of its human services offering online. Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) today announced the launch of Child Welfare Information Solution (CWIS). The new system allows caseworkers to do real-time electronic sharing of state and county information. By allowing for the exchange of information across counties and with real-time data, DHS can use CWIS to eliminate gaps in information throughout the life of a case.

In addition to reporting abuse, individuals seeking child abuse clearances will now be able to submit applications and pay electronically.

Mandatory reporters will also be able to report electronically. Other states are working through pilots that provide benefits recipients with text messages when they need to update their information or are nearing the cap on their allowances.

“We estimate that an average-sized U.S. state human services agency could save around $14 million annually by deploying mobile apps for citizens,” said Debora Morris, managing director, Accenture Integrated Social Services.