How Verifications Help Enable Faster Decisions for Vital Social Service Benefits

June 22, 2022

Every day, government agencies across the U.S. help millions of people who are in need of access to healthcare, food, housing, and financial assistance. These programs include Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Housing Choice Vouchers, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and more.

Since eligibility for such programs is typically based on income, social service agencies must have some way to verify the income of each applicant. And when it comes to determining eligibility and getting benefits in the hands of people in need, speed and access to information matter.


Why do government social service agencies need to verify my income? 

If you’ve ever benefited from one of these programs, you understand the important role they play in our society. The government agencies that administer them - at the federal, state and local level - want to make sure they are providing the right benefits to the right people.

When you apply for benefits, the agency will typically request certain documents or information, including proof of income. That way, they can correctly determine if you qualify for the benefit under the relevant policy’s requirements. If you qualify, the agency then must determine the benefit amount, and will most likely reverify that you are still eligible at a later date.


What is The Work Number®, and how does it support my application for social service benefits?

If you are applying for social service benefits, it can be very time consuming to track down all the information needed for the application. That’s where The Work Number database can help streamline this process. 

The Work Number partners with 2.5 million employers - large and small - to obtain employment and income information that is updated every pay period. If your employer uses The Work Number, you should not have to print out pay stubs or be slowed down by phone calls to verify your income information during your benefit application process. 

In short, The Work Number can help make your application processing and benefit determination faster and more effective- which benefits both you and the social service agency.


Are there alternatives to using The Work Number for benefit decisions?  

Rather than using The Work Number, agencies may choose to handle verifications themselves. This means you would need to gather and submit your income information, and then the agency would manually check it against other sources, which is often a slower process since it is a manual task. Agencies may also use public wage data sources, but those may give an outdated view of your income since they are up to 120 days old, depending upon the source.

Also, if there are significant delays in benefit processing, you may become anxious and re-apply unnecessarily. This could result in more work to pull your documentation together again, and applications submitted twice can potentially lead to even greater delays in decisions.


The bottom line for consumers

If you’re applying for vital government assistance, you don’t want anything to slow down receiving the aid that you need. That’s why automated verification services like The Work Number are a vital part of the process. 

To learn more about other use cases for The Work Number, visit our Newsroom