Each year, guided by the Hunger Coalition, the CalFresh Task Force identifies top priorities for advocacy and learning. Improving MyBenefits CalWIN, California’s online portal to apply for CalFresh and other public benefits, has been a top priority for the past three years.
As a means of gathering feedback on issues with the CalWin portal, the Hunger Coalition held a series of listening sessions with CalFresh Task Force member organizations and their clients over the course of 2014. Recommendations were compiled by the Hunger Coalition and shared with the County of San Diego’s Health & Human Services Agency and the CalWIN Consortium (the body governing the online portal). While the Consortium was initially hesitant to make changes. Recognizing the importance of these enhancements, the County for San Diego stepped forward and provided $6 million to cover programming changes to the online application website, including many of those suggested by the Hunger Coalition and CalFresh Task Force.
Important new features in MyBenefits CalWin include:
- New text message reminders for CalFresh recipients when semi-annual and annual reports on current income and other factors affecting eligibility are due to the County in order to maintain benefits.
- Clients can now complete their Semi Annual Report (SAR7) and annual Recertification online.
- Clients can now upload and attach missing documents to an application after it has been submitted and is being processed.
- New mobile app feature allows clients to take pictures of their documents to verify eligibility on their phone and upload them to their account.
At September’s quarterly CalFresh Task Force meeting, the Hunger Coalition invited the County to present and providing training on all of the recent improvements to My Benefits CalWIN.
The Hunger Coalition is proud to support improvement of systems making it easier for those who are eligible for benefits to access and maintain them. This work would not be possible without the collaboration of the CalFresh Task Force and County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency. For more information about My Benefits CalWIN, please visit the My Benefits CalWIN website.