Benefits.gov (formerly GovBenefits.gov) was launched in an effort to provide citizens with easy, online access to government benefit and assistance programs. Eight years after its initial launch, GovBenefits.gov underwent a major redesign and became Benefits.gov. However, the program’s mission remains the same: reduce the expense and difficulty of interacting with the government while increasing citizen access to government benefit information.
The site’s core function is the eligibility prescreening questionnaire or “Benefit Finder.” Answers to the questionnaire are used to evaluate a visitor’s situation and compare it with the eligibility criteria for more than 1,000 Federally-funded benefit and assistance programs. Each program description provides citizens with the next steps to apply for any benefit program of interest.
At the time of the site’s launch in 2002, it featured 55 programs, representing the ten original Federal agency partners. Today, the website now includes over 1,000 programs representing 17 Federal partners. For an in-depth review of our activities, take a look at Benefits.gov: A Progress Report to Citizens (2008), a summary of our mission and efforts to serve citizens.
In 2002, the White House began an intensive effort to build, launch and manage a diverse portfolio of government-to-citizen, government-to-business and government-to-government websites. Operated, managed and supported by Federal agency partnerships, these initiatives provide innovative and economic technology-based solutions such as citizen tax filing, Federal rulemaking, electronic training, and benefit information delivery. The beneficiaries include citizens, businesses and Federal and state government employees.
One of the earliest of these “E-Government” success stories was that of GovBenefits.gov (now Benefits.gov). Prior to the launch of the site, citizens seeking government benefit information had no choice but to search through a complicated and confusing maze of web pages, often unsuccessfully. There was no easy-to-use, single source of benefit information to help citizens understand which benefit programs they may be eligible for, or how to apply. Millions of citizens are leading better lives because of information they obtained on Benefits.gov.