Benefits Data Trust (BDT) is a not-for-profit organization committed to transforming how individuals in need access public benefits. BDT believes all vulnerable families and individuals should be able to secure the benefits that enable them to achieve stability. In its effort to increase financial stability among vulnerable populations, BDT provides comprehensive application assistance to eligible individuals and collaborates with diverse, cross-sector partners to simplify the benefits access landscape and affect policy to ensure that benefits access is simple, comprehensive and cost-effective. Since its inception in 2005, BDT has submitted over 500,000 benefit applications on behalf of eligible individuals, resulting in the infusion of $5 billion in benefits into low-income households.
Mr. D worked up until the age of 50, when he was laid off and found it very difficult to find work. “People looked at me like I’m taking advantage of the situation. I’m just trying to put food on the table. I really want to work. Hand me a shovel; I’ll use it. I worked my whole life and just fell on some bad luck.”
He was unable to feed his family and his bills were piling up. Unaware of government programs or how to apply for them, Mr. D. responded to a letter from Benefits Data Trust, informing him of programs that could help him better afford groceries. He did not need to find the program, BDT found him. After calling, a trained Benefits Outreach Specialist walked him through the application process from start to finish and he was approved for $200/month that he could use to pay for his groceries.
The positive outcomes achieved through increased access have been proven and the savings have been identified. Outcomes focused research clearly shows that when people can eat, heat their homes, and access health care, they are better able to thrive.
In 2015, the Connelly Foundation awarded a grant in the amount of $25,000 toward the organization's PA Benefits Center project with a goal to increase access to public benefits for thousands of vulnerable seniors.