Public safety net programs are an investment in our shared future.
Public benefits in the United States have helped cut poverty nearly in half over the last 50 years. They’ve contributed to advances in health and life expectancy. They are linked to higher student achievement and increased earnings for adults. They reduce healthcare costs and help fuel economic growth.
In short, public benefits are an effective tool for building a more promising, equitable society.Learn More
Millions of older adults are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but fewer than half are enrolled. For those who do receive food assistance, the health impacts are considerable:
- Those who enroll in SNAP are less likely to skip their prescription medications due to cost.
- According to a North Carolina study, older residents who receive SNAP benefits had lower annual Medicaid costs — saving the government $2,360 per person.
- For those enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare, food assistance can reduce nursing home admissions by 23% and hospitalizations by 14%.
BDT connects eligible Medicaid recipients to SNAP benefits to improve their well-being and reduce their healthcare needs.
Nutrition assistance programs like SNAP and WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants, and Children) improve overall nutrition and health, while Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) are linked to healthier birth weight and lower infant mortality. But the true impact is greater than short-term health:
- SNAP, WIC, and Medicaid are also associated with improved long-term health and a lower risk of health problems later in life, such as heart disease and diabetes.
- Access to health insurance and nutrition assistance has been linked to gains in reading and math.
- Expanding health insurance coverage for children increases the rate of high school and college completion.
- Increased access to SNAP benefits may reduce the need for foster care and child protective service interventions by as much as 14.3%.
BDT leverages data and text message outreach to connect families to programs like WIC that improve childhood nutrition.
Parents and Families
Benefit programs strengthen families by contributing to employment, income, and life expectancy:
- Women who participated in SNAP as children achieve greater self-sufficiency through increased educational attainment and earnings.
- Early exposure to Medicaid increases future earnings.
- Access to Medicaid is associated with a 12% reduction in mortality over a two-year period.
Every year, our phone-based Benefit Centers help thousands of families access food assistance, healthcare, and other vital benefits.
Many college students experience basic needs insecurity. Public benefits can increase their chance of success during and after college:
- SNAP enrollment can help erase the retention gap. In one study, food-insecure students enrolled in SNAP had similar — or higher — retention rates than the student body as a whole.
- Every additional $1,000 in Pell Grant aid increases the likelihood of graduating by 5% and increases future earnings by more than $1,000.
Our chatbot Wyatt has helped thousands of students nationwide access millions of dollars in federal grant aid for college.
Public benefits strengthen our economy, supporting jobs and generating cost savings that impact all of us:
- Every $1 invested in WIC saves about $2.48 in medical, educational, and productivity costs.
- Every $1 billion invested in SNAP generates approximately $1.5 billion in economic activity, supporting over 13,500 jobs.
Since 2005, BDT has secured over $10 billion in food, healthcare, and other benefits for individuals and families across the country.