Imagine thousands of dollars sitting in a bank. It’s in an account expressly set aside for you, but you don’t know it’s there.
Or, maybe someone told you about part of it, but you had no idea there was more. Meanwhile, your family is scraping by, living paycheck to paycheck, with little hope of getting ahead.
Sound like a nightmare?
This is reality. Each year, about $8.3 billion in federal benefits for families goes unclaimed in Texas, according to the Texas Health Institute.
But, there’s a solution called The Benefit Bank. This organization trains counsellors to work with families and apply online for:
- Food stamps
- College tuition assistance
- Income tax credits
And families can apply for all of these benefits at the same time. Free and online.
For example, thousands of families that could qualify for food stamps don’t apply. We know the same is true w/ CHIP and Medicaid. In Tarrant County, only 58% of those eligible are receiving food stamps, according to The Texas Food Bank Network. That amounts to nearly $225 million.
I love this idea because I think it could help more children gain coverage.
The Benefit Bank is already up and running in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. For example, in Ohio, the Benefit Bank has returned more than $500 million in benefits. They have counselors in community and faith-based organizations, social service agencies, food pantries, job training programs, and homeless shelters.
Currently, The Benefit Bank is being rolled out in Amarillo. I met with the Benefit Bank team this week, and would love to see this happen in our area.
If you’d like to get involved or hear more, contact the Texas Benefit Bank’s executive director, Diana Maldonado at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit http://www.thebenefitbank.org/texas.