FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 10, 2020
“Missouri Benefits Enrollment Transformation Report” recommends simplified and streamlined benefit forms
JEFFERSON CITY, MO — The Department of Social Services (DSS) published online the “Missouri Benefits Enrollment Transformation Report” produced by Civilla, a non-profit design studio and DSS. The report contains recommendations on ways to redesign, shorten, and simplify the benefit application form for MO HealthNet and other programs that should in turn make application processing faster and more efficient. The report, which began in 2019, took an intensive look at the application and enrollment process for Missouri’s largest safety net programs. During the research phase, Civilla worked with DSS team members and Missouri participants across the state to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire enrollment process and to identify specific opportunities for improvement from both perspectives. This is part of DSS’s larger effort to improve the accessibility of services and participant experience.
“Improving participant experience is part of Missouri’s Medicaid transformation which completely aligns with Governor Parson’s priority to improve the way the State of Missouri does business,” said Todd Richardson, Director, MO HealthNet Division. “That improved participant experience must start at the beginning when Missourians first apply for that benefit. The report recommends the application and renewal forms must be easy to understand and faster to complete correctly the first time which means it will expedite application processing and improve efficiency. It also recommends a single, streamlined form for Medicaid and four other benefit programs, Food Stamp/ SNAP, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF,) Child Care Subsidy, and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance.”
“I am excited about the report’s recommendations to make our services more accessible to eligible Missouri citizens with just one application form for multiple programs,” said Jennifer Tidball, Acting Director, Department of Social Services. “It is important to point out that due to the timing of the report, two significant events were not factored into the findings, but have substantial impact on safety net programs, the global pandemic, and voter approval in August to expand MO HealthNet program eligibility. The work moving forward will take into account experiences since COVID-19 and Medicaid Expansion. The department looks forward to the next phase, engaging with Civilla, stakeholders, and federal partners in the design and testing. We hope to complete this ambitious and truly transformative project next year.”
The Department of Social Services is committed to the “Show Me Strong" Recovery Plan and serving the needs of Missouri citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. SkillUp and Missouri Work Assistance (MWA) are free programs available to all Food Stamp/SNAP and TA recipients that help low-income Missourians with career planning, overcoming challenges to work, as well as getting and keeping a job. Information regarding the department’s response to the pandemic is available online https://dss.mo.gov/covid-19.
The mission of the Department of Social Services is to empower Missourians to live safe, healthy, and productive lives. Visit dss.mo.gov to learn more about the Department of Social Services and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.