Impact of a web-based information and referral tool on access to federal and state programs for older adults
Napier, A., Rhodes, B., Khavjou, O., Knowles, M., Popham, L., Walsh, E. G., & Jones, J. M. (2021). Impact of a web-based information and referral tool on access to federal and state programs for older adults. Journal of Aging and Social Policy, 35, 360-373. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/08959420.2021.1926206
Federal and state governments provide a plethora of benefits programs intended to help older Americans, but take-up rates for the programs is low. BenefitsCheckUp® is an online tool intended to increase enrollment in these programs. To evaluate the impact of this national online screening tool providing individualized benefit information, we conducted a web survey of individuals who screened potentially eligible for programs including Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, Medicare Savings Programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and energy assistance. Thirty-six percent of those surveyed applied for at least one benefit at an annualized, estimated average value of $2,865, and 20.5% enrolled, representing about 7% of the approximately 2 million site visitors age 60+. These results indicate that an online screening tool is a promising strategy for increasing benefit take-up rates among older adults with the value of benefits received far exceeding investments.