In her latest column for Governing, Network chair Beth Simone Noveck reflects on recent proposals for reducing the friction experienced by citizens when working with government to receive benefits. In particular, Noveck points to New York City Councilman Ben Kallos' recently introduced bill that would enable city residents to "receive all benefits for which they are eligible simply by filing a tax return or applying for one benefit. Re-certifications would be automatic rather than arduous."
Noveck argues that this type of legislation can both improve the experience of citizens, and also allow governments to better provide services to the public.
"Instead of filling out the same forms over and over again, residents should be signed up for services based on information they have already provided. A smart, efficient, data-driven government can invert the process so that rather than having to fill out forms, people need only to correct them. As a result, delivering services could be dramatically improved. It may seem counterintuitive, but automatic or ready benefits have the potential to result in more services delivered by smaller yet more efficient government."