Join the Academy and the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) for a panel discussion on the public’s experience applying for financial assistance from different pandemic relief programs.
Congress created or funded several different benefits to help fight the economic and health effects of the pandemic. For example, individuals could apply for unemployment benefits, funeral assistance, or rent relief. In many cases, individuals could receive multiple benefits at the same time — but the benefits were administered by different federal or state agencies that each had their own application process.
It takes time for people to navigate these different systems and apply for benefits. This time — which the White House recently called a “tax” — is spent filling out paperwork, submitting documentation, creating an online account, or waiting on hold.
It can take even more time for someone to apply for benefits if their identity was stolen, something that saw a dramatic spike during the pandemic. The federal government reported a 2,920 percent increase in identity theft related to government documents or benefits in 2020.
As federal, state, and local agencies continue to distribute $5 trillion in pandemic relief funds, what have we learned about making it easier for people to apply to get benefits? And what challenges remain?
The expert panelists will discuss:
This event is on-the-record and open to the press.
Alexis Fernandez Garcia: Code for America, Senior Director
Pamela Herd: Georgetown University, Professor of Public Policy
Nina Olson: Executive Director and Founder, Center for Taxpayer Rights
Julia Simon-Mishel: Philadelphia Legal Assistance, Supervising Attorney