Key Takeaways

  • An evaluation of the Benefits Enrollment Center (BEC) program identified several promising ways BECs are reaching new clients.

  • SNAP continues to be the program BECs assist clients with the most.

  • This BEC promising practices report includes research findings, analysis of outcomes data for BECs, and case studies of eight types of organizations serving as BECs.

In 2016-17, NCOA engaged Social Policy Research Associates (SPR) to conduct an evaluation to identify promising outreach, screening, and application assistance strategies being used by different types of Benefits Enrollment Centers (BECs).

Supported by the grant from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, BECs help adults with disabilities and seniors 65 and older apply for public benefits programs that can help them maintain healthy lives. All BECs are expected to conduct outreach, provide screenings, and assist with applications for Medicaid, the Medicare Savings Program (MSP), Medicare Part D Extra Help/Low Income Subsidy (LIS), the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

SPR staff members analyzed monthly BEC outcomes data that all BECs report to NCOA and made in-person site visits to eight BECs. The sites selected for further study represented a wide diversity of the types of organizations operating BECs, which allows them to serve as models to BECs of different types across the country.

Major findings from the analysis of BEC outcomes data include the following:

  • The data show a steady increase in the number of participating BECs over the period available for analysis.
  • There is a strong upward trend in the number of applications to the five programs defined as core benefits programs—an increase from about 2,000 monthly applications in early 2014 to about 10,000 in early 2017.
  • SNAP is the program for which the highest number of applications have been submitted.

This BEC promising practices report includes the findings of this research, analysis of outcomes data, and case studies of eight types of organizations serving as BECs, and how their outreach and enrollment strategies differed depending on what type of organization housed the program.