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Alpha Release

This site hosts a multi-benefit application and enrollment prototype.

This prototype has been designed with applicants for critical public benefit programs to model how to create simpler, user-centered multi-program applications.

This is a template that local benefits administrators can customize for their enrollment programs. It is not a real application: no data entered on these pages will be shared or stored.

Demo the prototype


Building on the work of Medicaid modernization, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare and the U.S. Digital Service have been working to use the tools of technology and design to improve how benefit applicants get access to critical services.

Our team began by exploring the current state of benefit enrollment and delivery across agencies and states in an extensive qualitative user research field study. See the report of our findings.

From here, our team began working closely with local benefit program administrators to identify tools to help accelerate their program modernization efforts.

About this prototype

This prototype demonstrates a user-centered enrollment model that leverages data sharing between agencies to minimize the burden on applicants in determining program eligibility.

In our research, we saw a common need from state programs for an online application template which offices can customize to meet their own policy and user requirements.

The alpha version of the prototype is designed to model how one or more applicants can apply for SNAP and/or Medicaid — two of the largest programs with demographic eligibility overlap.

Design principles for user-centered online benefits applications

1. Design for real-time eligibility determination and same-day enrollment.

Model how states would collect data to verify against other government systems when possible.

2. Work to connect people to the programs they want and need, in as few steps as possible.

Give applicants the option to apply for multiple benefits at once or to apply for just one benefit while informing them of other programs available to them.

3. Mobile-first responsive design.

Ensure that people can apply on all devices by designing first for small screens and low bandwidth.

4. Plain language and warm voice.

These programs are complicated: do the hard work to keep the wording deadly simple. Use a conversational, encouraging tone and show people where they are in the process at all times.

5. Fewer prompts per screen.

Ask people questions in small bite-sized chunks, so as not to overwhelm with multiple complex questions at any single step. Always let people know where they are in the process.

6. Personalize and tailor applications.

Only show applicants information related to their specific circumstance.

What does “alpha” mean?

The alpha stage of product development is a short phase after a deep discovery in which teams quickly design, build, and test concepts with users.

The aim of the alpha phase is to:

  1. Show that project is technically feasible
  2. Build and test early versions of a product with real users
  3. Gather feedback from stakeholders and key partners to identify improvements for a beta release

In other words: this prototype is a work-in-progress... and we want your help making it better.

Leave us feedback on our github repo.

Demo the prototype