BEN (Benefits Enrollment Network) is Single Stop’s proprietary benefits screening and case management tool.
BEN compiles hundreds of pages of regulations and policies, for a variety of benefits, into a few screens of questions. Counselors compile the information from families and in just 15 minutes can determine eligibility for a wide range of benefits and services. BEN is customized for 45 state and federal benefits in New York City.
BEN also streamlines the application process by pre-populating application forms and compiling other evidence that families need to present to formally apply for benefits. At some locations in NYC, BEN is able to interface directly with government offices, so that clients can complete applications right at the Single Stop office.
BEN is not a stand-alone tool. Although clients could likely fill in the needed information, understanding the benefits eligibility and their implications requires the expertise of a Single Stop coordinator. For example, perhaps a family is eligible for food stamps, WIC and cash assistance – accepting any combination of these might impact their ability to access housing assistance, unemployment or disability benefits. Single Stop’s coordinators help navigate the possibilities and ensure families make informed decisions.
But BEN is much more than just a benefits screening tool. It provides the capacity for holistic case management, and captures evaluation data to track outcomes. Coordinators are able to make notes in client files about referrals and next steps for other Single Stop services. Appointments and outcomes for financial or legal counseling help coordinators to provide follow up support to families. Likewise, when coordinators are able to confirm receipt of different benefits, BEN keeps track of all of that information.