The Scale of the Problem
More than 37 million Americans live in poverty, yet many are unable to access the social safety net benefits intended to support them. Applications for programs like SNAP, WIC and Medicaid often follow outdated, disjointed, and complicated processes that require immense effort for already marginalized populations. Eligible individuals and families face four major barriers to accessing their benefits: misinformation, poor service or treatment, fear of consequences, and logistical issues. As a result, nearly $60 billion in government benefits remain unclaimed every year by people who are eligible.
in government benefits that remain unclaimed by eligible people annually
in unclaimed benefits in SNAP alone
1 in 6
households with children report lack of sufficient food
A Promising Solution
Code for America’s Safety Net Innovation Lab aims to unlock an estimated $30 billion in benefits to reach as many as 13 million people by removing barriers to accessing social safety net programs like SNAP, Medicaid, and WIC. Code for America works shoulder to shoulder with community organizations and government to build digital tools and services, change policies, and improve programs for all people. The Safety Net Innovation Lab will help states develop products and services that eliminate key barriers to accessing public benefits, aiding millions of Americans in achieving greater economic mobility.
states will work in partnership with Code for America, increasing access to safety net programs
people projected to have been kept out of poverty by SNAP in 2020
people expected to benefit from Code for America’s Social Safety Net Innovation Lab
Blue Meridian's Investment
Our investment supports a seven-year plan to modernize benefits systems in 15 states, tackling key barriers to benefits enrollment, usage, and retention. This plan involves four key elements that work together: a cohort model; a collective effort to establish and distribute national best practices and evaluations; an advancement of support for policies and partnerships at the federal, state, and local levels; and a racial equity lens to understand needs, develop products, and monitor impact.
$36 million invested over 7 years
Reach an additional 2.3 million individuals
Deliver an estimated $30 billion in unclaimed benefits to as many as 13 million eligible individuals
Tremendous Track Record of Growth
Code for America has demonstrated significant growth over the past several years, even through the COVID-19 pandemic. This growth is driven by existing core competencies – including product service delivery in programs like SNAP and WIC, and other integrated benefits. The organization built on already existing teams and products from successes with SNAP, the Integrated Benefits Initiative, P-EBT, and GetYourRefund – an initiative supported by Blue Meridian’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief investments.
CEO Amanda Renteria has steered the organization through unique challenges and opportunities, while also serving as an influential leader. She brings deep experience in government, including as the COO at the California Department of Justice and as an economic policy advisor, and has been the first Latina Chief of Staff in the United States Senate.
Code for America has a mission-driven leadership team, many of whom share lived experiences of having received government benefits and carry deep connections to the purpose of their work.
Vision for Growth
Code for America has a vision to transform the way that government uses technology to better reach its potential as a lever for improving people’s lives at scale. They work side-by-side with leaders, technologists, and front-line workers to embed new and improved practices in their methods. Code for America is well positioned to pursue impact at scale and ultimately connect millions of individuals and families with low incomes to essential public benefits that are critical in helping people and families climb the economic ladder.
About Code for America
Code for America works closely with community organizations and government to meaningfully impact some of the toughest societal challenges, including poverty. Code for America builds digital tools and services, champions policy change, and finds ways to improve programs to change the lives of individuals who are most in need. Code for America builds on insights and ideas from people in the field to guide solutions that break down barriers to meet community needs and improve government.
Chief Executive Officer
Amanda Renteria is the CEO of Code for America. She has led the organization through extraordinary years of impact and growth during the pandemic. Prior to this role, Renteria held a diverse career across many sectors including the financial industry, education, and public service. She previously served as the Chief of Operations at the California Department of Justice and a Chief of Staff in the United States Senate. Renteria earned degrees from both Stanford University and Harvard Business School.
A bold plan for transforming access to the US social safety net
CEO Amanda Renteria introduces Code for America’s Safety Net Innovation Lab at the 2022 TED Talks Conference in Vancouver.