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July/August 2011Vol. 12, No. 6Online Access to Benefit Programs

Nearly every State offers websites with information on low-income benefit programs for children and families. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) recently researched those websites and published a report detailing the different ways the public can access the following services online:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps)
  • Medicaid
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Child care assistance

Just as there is great variation in the types of services States provide through low-income benefit programs, there is great variation in the ways the public can interact with these State programs on the Internet. In addition to listing program websites in all 50 States and the District of Columbia, CBPP summarizes whether or not individuals can perform the following tasks online:

  • Determine their potential eligibility for a program
  • Apply for a program or print application forms
  • Check the status of their application
  • View or update account information
  • Renew benefits
  • Read policy manuals
  • Access data on program use

The full report, Online Services for Key Low-Income Benefit Programs: What States Provide Online With Respect to SNAP, TANF, Child Care Assistance, Medicaid, and CHIP, is available on the CBPP website: (321 KB)