FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 18, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG LAUNCHES ACCESS NYC – A NEW WEB SERVICE TO STREAMLINE THE APPLICATION TO BENEFIT PROGRAMS
ACCESS NYC follows a recommendation of the Commission for Economic Opportunity and fulfills a commitment the Mayor made in the State of the City address
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the launch of ACCESS NYC, an online tool that brings 21 different city, state, and federal programs into a single website that allows clients to pre-screen for human service benefits and begin the application process for them. Applicants for human service benefit programs too often face burdensome application processes, different benefit offices, duplicative documentation requirements, and business hours that compete with work schedules. The tool and its integrated approach to human service benefit delivery follows a recommendation of the Mayor's Commission for Economic Opportunity and fulfills a commitment the Mayor made in this year's state of the city address. The Commission report highlights ACCESS NYC as an example of using technology to simplify, streamline and automate the delivery of government services. The Mayor was joined at the announcement by Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs and Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Paul J. Cosgrave. A link to ACCESS NYC is available on www.nyc.gov.
"I've always believed in the power of technology to make government work better," said Mayor Bloomberg. "That's the philosophy behind 311, and that's what we're trying to do with ACCESS NYC. This innovative website is going to push us forward in our mission to improve self-sufficiency and help more hard-working families rise out of poverty for good."
"Our efforts to provide a coherent set of work supports is impeded by a different form for every program, a different office for every application," said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. "This on-line system we unveil today makes access to support more clear and will ultimately standardize applications and drive a better allocation of resources."
"The different City agencies that provide services totaling in the billions of dollars now, for the first time, have screening information and applications in one place," said Commissioner Cosgrave. "This is a particularly satisfying project, as we have taken disparate but related information and brought it together in an intuitive, user-friendly way, further facilitating access to a comprehensive range of human services for New Yorkers."
ACCESS NYC is a free online service that allows users to pre-screen, anonymously, for 21 programs across eight agencies in any of seven languages, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Haitian-Creole, and English. By entering basic household information, residents can receive a list of the programs for which they are potentially eligible, print partially-complete application forms and find office locations. Users of ACCESS NYC can remain anonymous or create an account to save their work.
ACCESS NYC is not meant to replace the agency application process, it is meant to pre-screen and partially complete applications in an effort to simplify a complex process and make potential clients aware of programs they may not have known existed. The process has three steps that take about thirty minutes to complete. In the first, the user answers eight simple questions with general information to broadly include or exclude certain programs. In the second step, more detailed information about each of the household's members is entered, to identify programs for which each may be eligible. The final step helps the user with the application process. Individuals are also able to easily learn where to apply for programs and what to take with them when they do so.
Initially, the tool will pre-screen for the following 21 programs:
ACCESS NYC is built to be compatible with future advancements in electronic application filing programs operated by the state and federal government, another goal of the Commission for Economic Opportunity. Future plans for the tool include expansion of the number of programs covered. This launch is the first step in advancements that will realize efficiencies, and lead to more comprehensive assessment and services (such as data sharing) and better resource allocations (to eliminate duplication and fill gaps).
Stu Loeser/Jason Post (212) 788-2958
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