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With the recent expiration of three key federal pandemic-related unemployment programs, an estimated 7.5 million Americans are now left without unemployment assistance. As new COVID-19 variants emerge and continue to wreak havoc on communities, it is critical to make sure that individuals and families have the resources they need.
In Pennsylvania, BDT is proud to be doing this work for half a million residents who are ineligible for or have lost unemployment insurance. Together with the Pennsylvania Departments of Human Services and Labor & Industry, we are conducting data-driven outreach to assist Pennsylvanians with applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other benefit programs.
"Experience shows that data-driven outreach can improve benefits access and help families meet their critical needs. I am proud that this important partnership will help families across the state make ends meet and move ahead during these challenging times."
- Trooper Sanders, CEO of BDT
BDT and UPMC Health Plan are expanding our partnership to improve the well-being of UPMC Health Plan members by helping UPMC For You Medicaid members access critical public benefit programs. BDT estimates that more than one-third of Pennsylvania Medicaid beneficiaries are not enrolled in SNAP despite their likely eligibility. By providing screening and application assistance for members via a simple transfer from UPMC’s member services, BDT is working to connect people to resources that can help pay for groceries, housing, utilities, and more. This initiative seeks to overcome common barriers and streamline access to vital assistance programs.
In March 2021, BDT welcomed Erika Blumenthal as our first-ever Chief Operating Officer. In this inaugural role, Erika is responsible for developing a more efficient and dignified experience for our clients while also attracting, retaining, and growing relationships to help BDT continue to connect people to public benefits.
Check out our Q&A with Erika to learn more about her work, experiences, and her first six months at BDT.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the gateway to federal grants, work study, and low-cost loans, yet each year over 30% of students fail to complete it, leaving $2-3 billion in federal aid on the table. In 2019, BDT partnered with the College Board in an effort to help more students enroll in and graduate from college without burdensome debt by helping to streamline access to financial aid and public benefits.
We’re proud to share that Wyatt — the only nationally available tool that provides both reminders and personalized assistance to students completing the FAFSA — officially launched for its third year on October 1. Wyatt is available to high school seniors in the class of 2022 participating in College Board's Opportunity Scholarships program.
This year, BDT will be conducting an evaluation of Wyatt to better understand student engagement and its relationship to FAFSA completions. As we look to the future of BDT’s work in higher education, we are exploring opportunities for Wyatt to help even more students with new partnerships, and potentially help students navigate a broader set of topics related to paying for college.