Social Services

New health care grants look to reform how hospitals are paid

The program wants to increase primary care for Medicare and Medicaid recipients while reducing hospital and emergency room visits.

States expect ‘big jump’ in Medicaid spending

As pandemic-era federal funding support winds down, state Medicaid directors said in a survey that they anticipate their share of the costs to increase even as enrollment declines.

Feds calls on states to reevaluate unemployment benefit accessibility

Access to unemployment has been declining and differs drastically across demographic groups. The Labor Department is urging states and territories to do something about it in new guidance.

Shutdown appears averted as House passes ‘laddered’ proposal

The continuing resolution extends SNAP through September, ensures other benefit programs are funded into early 2024 and avoids millions of workers being furloughed.

AI could ease the ‘administrative muck’ delaying SNAP and other benefits

President Biden’s recent executive order specifically called for guidance in the emerging technology’s use in assistance programs. But experts warn that AI isn’t a silver bullet.

With a shutdown looming, states and localities ready plans

Officials say they could see an uptick in unemployment insurance claims, have trouble feeding low-income families and experience disruptions to air travel, among other things.

Feds hope more data access will improve states’ SNAP delivery

The U.S. Agriculture Department is working to help states address card skimming and other persistent problems in the SNAP program.

Amid high heating prices, emergency funding for energy bills dries up

Congress approved one-time funding last year to help low-income families pay to heat and cool their homes. As winter approaches, states and advocates are calling for more money.

Letting low-income Americans buy groceries online in 2020 with SNAP benefits decreased the share of people without enough food

COMMENTARY | Few people with SNAP benefits could use them for online purchases before the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Worse than people can imagine’: Medicaid ‘unwinding’ breeds chaos in states

States have terminated Medicaid coverage for more than 10 million Americans since March, leaving families and individuals scrambling to seek alternative health insurance plans or apply for coverage renewals.

Investing in public benefit navigators is a crucial step toward equity

COMMENTARY | A public-private partnership in Philadelphia is helping residents overcome the barriers to accessing the public benefits and tax credits they’re entitled to.

10 Medicaid holdout states scramble to improve health coverage

But such efforts are more expensive and help fewer people, critics say.

Shutdown averted: States, localities breathe a sigh of relief

Congress voted to fund the government for 45 days. For now, the agreement puts off hard decisions about what to do regarding public assistance programs and the tens of thousands of federally funded state workers that would be impacted.

Why this shutdown could be even more significant for states and localities

Not all states, cities and counties are the same when it comes to shutdowns, but some places will feel it more acutely than others.

Why a government shutdown is complex for state and local governments

It will impact welfare, food stamps, housing and infrastructure, among other things. But planning for a shutdown is difficult for a myriad of reasons.

Funding for WIC food assistance remains uncertain amid budget fight 

As food costs increase, more women than expected have been signing up for the program. Without increased funding, states may have to turn women and their children away. 

Low-income water assistance program set to end

Advocates are pushing to extend the program as poverty rates in the U.S. are on rise, an increase attributed to the end of other expanded pandemic benefits for food, rent and unemployment.

States will soon be required to track post-welfare employment outcomes

The new rule, part of the debt deal struck in June, is a bipartisan effort by Congress to improve welfare assistance and lift recipients out of poverty.

In many schools this fall, free meals for all are back on the menu

States and school districts are moving to provide every kid with a free breakfast and lunch, after a popular pandemic-era program from the federal government expired.

States improperly dropping Medicaid participants due to programming errors

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has given states two weeks to identify problems that have caused eligible participants—mostly children—to be incorrectly disenrolled. Otherwise, states could lose out on Federal Medical Assistance Percentage funding.