Complex and duplicative paperwork requirements prevent many low-income families — especially working families — from receiving benefits that can help them meet basic needs such as food, health care, and child care.  Such requirements also add to state agency workloads and costs.

The Project on Program Simplification and Coordination was established by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to help make low-income programs easier both for eligible families to participate in and for states to administer.

By producing analyses and providing technical assistance to states and others, the Project helps states:

  • identify ways to streamline and coordinate the rules governing food stamps, Medicaid, the State Child Health Insurance Program food stamps, child care subsidy programs, and TANF income assistance programs, and
  • implement these changes in ways that will improve program participation rates while reducing red tape for both states and families.
Arkansas and Louisiana use information collected by the food stamp program to renew people's Medicaid eligibility.

Oregon, Wisconsin and other states have online calculators that allow families to determine their likely benefit level.

In parts of Ohio, families applying for child care subsidies can apply for Medicaid on the same simple form.

The Medicaid applications in Maine and Nebraska ask families if they are interested in applying for other benefit programs.

Louisiana, Texas, and Washington state conduct many food stamp interviews by phone.

Utah electronically scans in applicants' documentation so they do not have to supply the same documents twice.

The Center is interested in learning about innovative approaches to program simplification and alignment. If there are policies or procedures in your state that could be a model for others, please contact Sharon Parrott at the Center on Budget and Policy priorities (email address format: [email protected]).

Aligning Policies and Procedure in Benefit Programs: An Overview
Overview of ways states can simplify and coordinate application, income and asset, verification, renewal, and reporting policies and procedures.
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Easing Benefit Enrollment and Retention by Reducing the Burden of Providing Verification
Discusses ways in which states can reduce verification requirements while maintaining program integrity.
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Streamlining and Coordinating Benefit Programs’ Application Procedures
Discusses ways states can use single-program applications as gateway to other benefits and can reduce and simplify interviews.
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Revised 6/20/05
How States Can Align Benefit Renewals Across Programs
Discusses ways to make eligibility renewals easier for families and less time consuming for states.
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Revised 6/20/05
Using the Internet to Facilitate Enrollment In Benefit Programs
Discusses online benefit calculators and screeners and online applications.
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Topics of forthcoming reports: change reporting rules, verification rules, and income/asset policies
Updated 1/5/06
Online Information About Key Low-Income Benefit Programs
Provides internet links to states' online information - including applications, policy manuals, and descriptive material - about their food stamp, TANF, health insurance, and child care programs.
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The Project on Program Simplification and Coordination provides technical assistance to state agency officials, state policy analysts, and advocates.  To email one of these Center staff, use [email protected] without any punctuation or spaces. For further information, contact:

Sharon Parrott,
Director, Welfare Reform and Income Support

Stacy Dean,
Director of Food Stamp Policy

Dottie Rosenbaum,
Senior Policy Analyst, Nutrition Division

Donna Cohen Ross (use cohenross for email),
Outreach Director (Health and EITC)

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
820 First St. NE, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20002
202-408-1080 (phone)
202-408-1056 (fax)