Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the launch of ACCESS NYC, an online tool that brings 21 different city, state, and federal programs into a single Web site that allows clients to pre-screen for human service benefits and begin the application process for them.
Applicants for human service benefit programs too often face burdensome application processes, different benefit offices, duplicative documentation requirements, and business hours that compete with work schedules. ACCESS NYC is an example of using technology to simplify, streamline and automate the delivery of government services.
"I've always believed in the power of technology to make government work better," said Bloomberg. "That's the philosophy behind 311, and that's what we're trying to do with ACCESS NYC. This innovative Web site is going to push us forward in our mission to improve self-sufficiency and help more hard-working families rise out of poverty for good."
ACCESS NYC is a free online service that allows users to pre-screen, anonymously, for 21 programs across eight agencies in any of seven languages, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Haitian-Creole, and English. By entering basic household information, residents can receive a list of the programs for which they are potentially eligible, print partially-complete application forms and find office locations.
ACCESS NYC is not meant to replace the agency application process, it is meant to pre-screen and partially complete applications in an effort to simplify a complex process and make potential clients aware of programs they may not have known existed. Individuals are also able to easily learn where to apply for programs and what to take with them when they do so.
Initially, the tool will pre-screen for 21 programs such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) and Head Start.
ACCESS NYC is built to be compatible with future advancements in electronic application filing programs operated by the state and federal government. Future plans for the tool include expansion of the number of programs covered. This launch is the first step in advancements that will realize efficiencies, and lead to more comprehensive assessment and services (such as data sharing) and better resource allocations (to eliminate duplication and fill gaps).