Single Stop: The one-stop shop for low-income families
For years, it’s been confusing and time-consuming for low-income families to claim government services and benefits that are rightfully theirs. Many families don’t even know such assistance is available. Situations like this drive me crazy!
Thankfully, there may be a solution. Enter Single Stop, a national non-profit that serves as a one-stop shop for the services you need, like food stamps, Medicare, and tax breaks.
When you visit Single Stop, a counselor uses a computer program called the Benefits Enrollment Network to determine which services you qualify for, guides you through the application process, and directs you to other trained counselors right there onsite for free support like legal assistance, tax help, and financial and benefits advisement.
In 2009, just two years after its national launch, Single Stop and its partners served about 120,000 families. Clients received benefits and services worth $300 million. It’s a good reminder that sometimes all people need is information about what’s already out there.
If you or someone you know could benefit from Single Stop’s services, see if there’s a location near you. It’s in just five states so far—New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, and New Mexico—but has plans to expand to Illinois and beyond.
However, Single Stop alone isn’t enough. People need help in every state. After all, “government services” is a misnomer if no one even knows they exist.
Are there places in your community or online where people can go to get this kind of help? Have you been to a Single Stop? If you go, tell me what you think of your experience.