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Devin D. Thorpe

Devin Thorpe

$53 Billion in Government Aid Did Not Reach Americans in Need According to “Hidden Help: The Unclaimed Poverty Assistance Report”

SNAP, EITC, Medicaid, and CHIP Benefits are Unclaimed Year After Year Due to Lack of Access and Awareness

Press Release – January 8, 2018 (Philadelphia, PA) – Communally, the antipoverty technology company, today released its Hidden Help: The Unclaimed Poverty Assistance Report, which details an estimated $53.3 billion in government benefits not received by eligible Americans. The analysis uses publicly-available data from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. to estimate the number of people who are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) benefits.

“It is simply unacceptable that help meant for those struggling the most in our communities is not getting to them,” said Christopher Jacobs, CEO of Communally. “We have a crisis of poverty in this country, and government assistance is supposed to give citizens the ability to move forward and give them the ability to make real choices in their lives. Instead we have a system that leaves many families in a state of total instability instead of hope.”

Communally’s Hidden Help report was compiled through diligent and thorough research from sources including, but not limited to, the U.S. Census Bureau, Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, and the Internal Revenue Service. Data collected from these resources was used to estimate the number of individuals (and/or families) who would be eligible for a benefit and the estimated value of that benefit based on the amount that is helping current beneficiaries.

“We have continually seen that poverty assistance is not making it into the hands of those who need it most,” said Mary Whalen, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Communally. “Our leaders have appropriated billions of dollars to help people climb out of poverty. Our estimate of over $50 billion, which is conservative, going unused while our neighbors continue to suffer. This disconnect is caused by a variety of factor that include: political apathy and lack of leadership; slow adaptation of technology and individual’s hesitancy to use state self-serve benefits systems with no guidance; and a lack of education on where and how to easily access these funds.

Along with the analysis, Communally will be releasing interactive map that shows state-by-state data for unclaimed SNAP, EITC, Medicaid, and CHIP benefits.

“If we as a society really want to end poverty, not manage it, we cannot continue this trend,” continued Jacobs. “We need bold leaders willing to champion the cause of connecting poor people with the assistance that is already there for them. This means making a long-term commitment to fighting institutional and political barriers to providing people the help they need.”

About Communally

Communally, the antipoverty technology company, is a Philadelphia-based, Public Benefit Corporation whose mission is to assist low- and moderate-income individuals and families to move from the Crisis of poverty to being able to make real Choices in their lives. Communally combines innovative technology, public policy expertise and community outreach to deliver uniquely successful web-based services, The Benefit Bank® and MyBudgetCoach®. For more information, visit communally.tech.


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