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Philadelphia, December 13, 2018 – Benefits Data Trust (BDT) received a $100,000 grant from United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) to provide comprehensive benefit enrollment assistance to low-income Philadelphians filing their taxes through Campaign for Working Families’ (CWF) Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program during the 2019 tax season.
“Many people who come for tax preparation assistance think that because they have jobs, they are not eligible to receive help paying for food, healthcare, or shelter,” said Ginger Zielinskie, president & CEO of BDT. “This is not the case, especially for part-time and minimum wage workers. BDT’s Benefits Launch makes it easy for people to find out if they are likely eligible for benefits, and maps out how they can apply either by phone, online, mail, or in person.”
Benefits Launch is an easy-to-use, web-based tool that will allow tax filers at CWF’s free tax filing sites across Philadelphia to see if they might be eligible for up to 19 benefits to help pay for food, healthcare, housing, and other services. People can then choose to complete the application process in person at a CWF’s free tax filing site or at a BenePhilly Center, over the phone, or directly with the administering agency.
“Last tax season Campaign for Working Families filed over 25,000 returns and found $34.2 million in refunds for families and individuals in Philadelphia,” said Mary Arthur, president & CEO of CWF. “We know that thousands of our tax clients are also likely eligible for benefits and services, and this new tool will help them find the benefits they deserve.”
More than 1,000 families and individuals in Philadelphia are expected to use Benefits Launch to enroll in benefits during next year’s tax season. Since 2008, BDT has helped more than 110,000 Philadelphians heat their homes, feed their families, and pay for healthcare. Over the past 10 years, CWF has filed over 250,000 returns in Philadelphia.
“We’re on a mission to end intergenerational poverty in Philadelphia by building financial stability – something that we can’t do without investing in strategic partnerships like this,” said Dr. Nikia Owens, director, income and financial stability of United Way of UWGPSNJ. “Thousands of people struggling to pay for food, housing, and healthcare are eligible for assistance but don’t know it. Creating a quick and easy way for people to learn if they’re eligible for help is a positive step toward ending poverty in Philadelphia.”
Campaign for Working Families’ sites will open on January 24, 2019 in Philadelphia, Montgomery County, and Southern New Jersey. Locations can be found at cwfphilly.org.
Benefits Data Trust (BDT) is a national nonprofit that helps people live healthier, more independent lives by creating smarter ways to access essential benefits and services. Each year, BDT helps tens of thousands of people receive critical supports using data, technology, targeted outreach, and policy change. Since inception in 2005, BDT has submitted over 800,000 applications – more than any other single entity in the country – securing over $7 billion in benefits and services. BDT employs more than 170 people and provides enrollment assistance to individuals in six states, and policy assistance to states nationwide. For more information, visit bdtrust.org.
Campaign for Working Families (CWF) is a non-profit organization committed to helping working families and individuals achieve economic empowerment by providing free tax preparation, resource building and asset development. For over 16 years, CWF has operated community based tax sites offering tax preparation, e-file, direct deposit, public benefit enrollment assistance, as well as access to credit union financial products that help clients save money. CWF’s services allow families to maximize federal and state tax credits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For information about Campaign for Working Families visit www.cwfphilly.org.
United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, serving communities in Pennsylvania’s Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, and New Jersey’s Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May and Cumberland counties, is part of a national network of more than 1,300 locally governed organizations that work to create lasting positive changes in communities and in people’s lives. United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. In Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, United Way fights for youth success and family stability because we LIVE UNITED against intergenerational poverty. For more information about United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey visit www.UnitedForImpact.org.