Opportunities to Streamline Enrollment Across Public Benefit Programs
November 2, 2017
 The authors greatly appreciate the individuals at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Social Interest Solutions, and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) who provided information and reviewed drafts of this report.
 “Medicaid and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program,” Program Operations Manual System (POMS) Section SI 01715.010, Social Security Administration (SSA), https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0501715010, accessed March 20, 2017. Under Section 1634 of the Social Security Act, a state can request SSA to make Medicaid eligibility determinations and the state must provide Medicaid coverage to recipients of federally administered state supplementary payments (SSPs).
 We selected these 17 programs because they provide important supports to large numbers of low-income people. We examined each to identify all the programs to which it is linked and we illustrate these linkages in the diagrams in this report. Three of the programs are not linked to any others and therefore do not appear in the diagrams.
 The School Breakfast Program relies entirely on the National School Lunch Program to make eligibility determinations. Thus, when a child is approved to receive free or reduced-price lunches, the child also receives free or reduced-price breakfasts if the school offers them.
 In this report, Medicaid refers to full Medicaid coverage, (i.e., for children, adults, pregnant women, and elderly or disabled individuals), not limited Medicaid benefits such as for only family planning services or time-limited Refugee Medical Assistance under the Office of Refugee Resettlement (except that Medicaid coverage of Medicare cost-sharing for elderly and disabled Medicare beneficiaries is included under “Medicare Savings Programs”).
 Housing Assistance includes the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, public housing, and Project-Based Rental Assistance.
 See Quinn Moore et al., Direct Certification in the National Lunch Program: State Implementation Progress, School Year 2014–2015, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Policy Support, December 2016, https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/ops/NSLPDirectCertification2015.pdf, and similar reports for earlier school years. For a more detailed discussion of direct certification and the steps states can take to improve performance, see Madeleine Levin and Zoë Neuberger, “Improving Direct Certification Will Help More Low-Income Children Receive School Meals,” Food Research and Action Center and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 25, 2014, http://www.cbpp.org/research/improving-direct-certification-will-help-more-low-income-children-receive-school-meals.
 Many low-income families who are eligible for the EITC and CTC do not receive the benefit because they may be exempt from filing taxes if their income is below the tax filing thresholds set by the IRS. See “Publication 501- Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information,” Internal Revenue Service.
 Appendix D includes information on additional programs that are linked to one of the 17 programs listed in Table 1.
 For automatic linkages, it is important to clearly inform applicants how information they provide may be shared with other programs and allow the applicant to opt out. Without such mechanisms, implementing a linkage could lead to confusion or erode trust when individuals are notified they are eligible for programs for which they did not specifically apply.
 For an explanation of how community eligibility works, see Becca Segal et al., “Community Eligibility Adoption Rises for the 2015–2016 School Year, Increasing Access to School Meals,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Food Research & Action Center, updated May 13, 2016, https://www.cbpp.org/research/food-assistance/community-eligibility-adoption-rises-for-the-2015-2016-school-year. For more recent information about which schools are eligible and which schools have adopted community eligibility, see the Food Research & Action Center’s resources available at http://www.frac.org/community-eligibility.
 For a more detailed discussion of opportunities to integrate SNAP and Medicaid renewals see, Jennifer Wagner and Alicia Huguelet, “Opportunities for States to Coordinate Medicaid and SNAP Renewals,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, February 5, 2016, http://www.cbpp.org/research/health/opportunities-for-states-to-coordinate-medicaid-and-snap-renewals.
 See U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, “Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP) Guidance,” https://fns-prod.azureedge.net/sites/default/files/snap/ESAP_Guidance.pdf.
 “FAQs: States’ Use Of The SSA Data Set Via The Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Hub for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) & Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Eligibility,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, January 19, 2017, http://www.aphsa.org/content/dam/aphsa/pdfs/NWI/FAQ_Expanded%20Use%20of%20SSA%20Hub%20Data%20for%20SNAP%20and%20TANF%20Eligibility_2232017.pdf. For more information on the status of implementation, see Social Security Administration, “Open Government Plan 4.1: Plan Milestones and Completion Report, Flagship and Major Initiatives,” updated September 2017, https://www.ssa.gov/open/plan-progress-4.1.html.
 “Federal Low-Income Programs: Eligibility and Benefits Differ for Selected Programs Due to Complex and Varied Rules,” U.S Government Accountability Office, GAO-17-558, June 29, 2017, note 64, https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-558.
 “State Options Report - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, October 1, 2015, p. 21 (stating “FNS and SSA are not soliciting proposals for new demonstrations of this type”).