Public Benefits Programs

Public assistance programs help low-income families meet their basic needs.

Agencies may struggle to reach people who are eligible for a benefit or service, and many potential participants may struggle to complete the application processes. CABS has applied insights from behavioral science to initial outreach using mailers and text messaging to increase rates of application and enrollment among eligible populations. 

Beyond enrollment, public benefits programs often require people to work or take part in work-preparation activities to remain eligible for benefits. Once people have entered a program, organizations may struggle to keep people engaged. This challenge is not unique to the work support domain, but the context in which programs reach and serve clients offers particular challenges and opportunities. And people may cycle on and off work-support programs for a variety of reasons (unstable employment or housing, breaks in communication or engagement). 

Lessons from the BIAS Project

Using Insights from Behavioral Science to Increase Meeting Attendance

Paycheck Plus was a pilot program to simulate an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income single workers without dependent children. The CABS team designed two behavioral interventions designed to increase the number of participants who attended an informational meeting about the program.