Privatization & Modernization
Two significant and sometimes overlapping trends with profound implications for low-income people are emerging in public benefits administration.
Throughout the country, states are increasingly privatizing public benefits delivery by contracting with for-profit or not-for-profit non-governmental entities. Obviously, this shift to private contractors represents a major sea change in the way that these crucial programs have been delivered for 70 years.
At the same time, states are modernizing public benefits administration, making greater use of technology, including massive new computer systems, to administer programs.
It is critical that low-income people receive the benefits to which they are entitled as these changes take place. Advocates have numerous opportunities to address these growing phenomena to protect our country's most needy and vulnerable individuals and families.
NCLEJ welcomes opportunities to work with colleagues across the country to ensure that privatization and modernization initiatives are implemented in an effective and accountable manner, guaranteeing low income individuals and families the benefits, services, and opportunities for which they are legally entitled and that they need to achieve economic independence. Advocates should contact the Center.
Recent NCLEJ Advocacy:
- NCLEJ and Colleagues Achieve Settlements to Secure Colorado's Timely Processing of Medicaid, SNAP, CHIP, and TANF Applications (June 2011)
- Improving Automated Medicaid Eligibility Systems: NCLEJ Comments on HHS Proposals (January 2011) (pdf)
- Health Reform Implementation: NCLEJ Comments to HHS on State Health Exchanges (October 2010) (pdf)
- NCLEJ and Maximus: Modernizing Public Benefits Programs: What the Law Says State Agencies Must do to Serve People with Disabilities (August 2010) (pdf)
- The Closed Digital Door: State Public Benefits Agencies' Failure to Make Websites Accessible to People with Disabilities and Usable for Everyone (July 2010)
- NCLEJ and Colleagues Achieve Settlement in Colorado Requiring Prompt Processing of Benefits Applications (January, 2008)
- NCLEJ Checklist for Advocates: Privatization Issues in Public Benefits Programs (June, 2007)
- NCLEJ and Colleagues Seek Improvements in Texas Call Center Initiative (2006)
- Center Addresses New York City Contracts for Welfare-to-Work (education and training) and WeCARE (for persons with disabilities) (2004)
Additional NCLEJ Resources:
Improving Remote Communication Between Public Benefits Agencies and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals by Cary LaCheen, 43 Clearinghouse Review 431 (Jan. - Feb. 2010) (pdf)
Public Benefits Privatization and Modernization: Recent Developments and Advocacy by Mary R. Mannix, Cary LaCheen, Henry A. Freedman and Marc Cohan, 42 Clearinghouse Rev. 4 (May-June 2008) (pdf)
Miami Workers Center and Its Allies Win Comprehensive Grievance Policy
(from July 2003 Welfare News) (pdf)
Resources on Welfare Privatization
(from October 2002 Welfare News) (pdf)
Language Matters: Designing State and County Contracts for Services Under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families,
by Eileen Sweeney, Barbara Bezdek, Sharon Parrott, Carol Medaris and Cary LaCheen, 35 Clearinghouse Rev. 508
(Jan-Feb, 2002) (pdf)
Uncharted Terrain: The Intersection of Privatization and Welfare,
by Henry Freedman, Mary R. Mannix, Marc Cohan, and Rebecca Scharf, 35 Clearinghouse Rev. 557