Key Takeaways

  • Older adults from Native communities, and those experiencing homelessness and/or disability, can have unique challenges in accessing benefits.

  • NCOA supported four Benefits Enrollment Centers to test outreach strategies to these diverse, underserved groups; their lessons are shared here.

As part of our efforts to expand the reach of Benefits Enrollment Centers (BECs) nationwide, NCOA often funds organizations to build their capacity to deliver BEC services to specific underserved populations, or piloting specific models.

At the end of their grant period, these organizations are asked to synthesize the results of their approach and provide tips for similar agencies who would like to adopt the BEC model.

Meet our 2018 capacity BEC cohort

In 2018, NCOA supported four organizations in this role. They included:

  • Anchor-Age Senior Activity Center, a senior center in Alaska’s largest city that enhances the quality of life of Alaskans by promoting fitness, health and wellness, and social interaction.
  • The Ecumenical Social Action Committee, a multi-service agency that provides a client-centered, coordinated approach to stabilize senior homeowners in Boston’s most distressed neighborhoods.
  • Native American Disability Law Center, a nonprofit service and advocacy organization that promotes the rights of Native Americans with disabilities in the Four Corners region of the southwestern U.S.
  • Watts Labor Community Action Committee, a community-based organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for South Central Los Angeles residents.

Collectively, these BECs helped close to 2,000 individuals apply for benefits worth over $6 million in annual savings.

Dolores, one of the clients served by Watts Labor Community Action Committee, shares a smile with her counselor.
Dolores, left, is one of the seniors served by Watts counselor Charlayne Browe