Supporting Families After Welfare Reform: Access to Medicaid, CHIP and Food Stamps

An RWJF National Program

Field of Work: Removing administrative obstacles that prevent low-income families from securing Medicaid, CHIP and Food Stamps.

Problem Synopsis: Following the enactment of welfare reform in 1996, many people who lost welfare benefits continued to be eligible for Medicaid and Food Stamps, yet from one-half to two-thirds of former welfare recipients were losing these benefits, according to researchers at Mathematica Policy Research.

Synopsis of the Work: Supporting Families After Welfare Reform (2000 through 2007), designed to complement RWJF's Covering Kids & Families (2001 through 2009), aimed to help states and large counties solve problems in eligibility processes that made it difficult for low-income families to access and retain Medicaid, CHIP or Food Stamps—particularly families moving from welfare to work.

Key Results/Findings

  • According to the national program office, participating sites devised strategies to help families secure and retain benefits. The strategies included simplifying client forms and notices; mailing reminders or calling families regarding required verifications; reorganizing workflow to reduce staff burdens; and reprogramming computer systems to reduce mistakes.