The Work Supports Initiative (WSI) is a national outreach effort to connect low- and moderate-income Americans with works supports in the form of tax credits, public benefits, and other assistance such as student financial aid and disability assistance, using The Benefit BankŪ.
Work supports, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and SNAP (formerly food stamps), help low- and middle-income families make ends meet. These supports increase employment, education levels and welfare-to-work success ratios, and reduce poverty, hunger, homelessness, and recidivism. When households claim work supports, they spend those dollars in their local communities, boosting economic recovery through multiplier effects. The problem is that each year more than $54 billion in work supports available under existing government-funded programs are unclaimed by eligible Americans who do not apply. The National Governors' Association identifies inconvenience and time off from work as primary reasons why eligible households do not apply for work supports.
The Work Supports Initiative is a partnership between MDC (with more than 40 years of experience creating and sustaining workforce, education, and asset-building initiatives), WHY Hunger (a national anti-hunger and anti-poverty organization), Solutions for Progress (the developer and operator of The Benefit Bank), and state-based nonprofit organizations.
Initiative partners have developed a national outreach plan-replicating and extending the successful outreach effort in Ohio-to:
|-||Deploy outreach in 15 or more states using The Benefit Bank over the next two years|
|-||Connect modest-income Americans to more than $2.3 billion in work supports|
|-||Secure over $4.3 billion in impact on the nation's economic recovery|
The success of outreach using The Benefit Bank can be seen in Ohio where the Ohio Benefit Bank has grown to include over 1,200 sites and over 4,500 counselors spanning all of Ohio's 88 counties, who have served more than 95,000 Ohioans and helped people claim nearly $200 million in work supports during less than three years of operations
See Ohio University Report.