Social Agencies Strive to Improve Program Integrity
Many social agencies struggle to provide a more beneficiary-centric operation. If they can't quickly identify applicants and accurately verify their eligibility, then they risk providing a poor customer experience and making improper payments.
Equifax recently surveyed federal, state and local agency decision makers about their social service eligibility verification systems. Key findings from the study include:
- 63% of state and local agencies view improving program integrity as a first or second priority.
- Pay stubs is still the primary way of verifying an applicant’s income and employment. But this puts the onus on applicants to prove eligibility and often results in improper payments.
- The #1 consideration government agencies use to determine how to verify is how much effort is required on the part of the agency.
According to the survey results, most health and human services agencies require applicants to initially gather and provide information -- like pay stubs and tax forms -- followed by a systems search, when appropriate. However, this approach can lead to citizen dissatisfaction or benefit fraud because applicant-provided information can be forged or incomplete.
A Systems-First Approach Can Increase Efficiency and Speed
A “systems-first” approach that uses current employment and income information can ease the burden for both applicants and agency caseworkers. It also reduces inefficient manual processes and improves the speed and accuracy of agency decisions. Therefore, agencies can spend more time delivering the right assistance to the right recipient in a timely and cost-efficient way.
The Work Number® database from Equifax is the largest source of consolidated income and employment data. It uses public and private sector companies alike. Combining The Work Number® with other data, such as credit, identity, residency, property, and incarceration information -- as well as analytical capabilities -- empowers government agencies to make more informed decisions and maximize program efficiency. Most importantly, Equifax can help its public sector customers transform government services into beneficiary-centric services.