Every year billions of dollars in government aid is left unused, money that would otherwise dramatically improve the lives of the working poor. Our SaaS platform, ABO, is used by our non-profit customers to quickly and easily determine their clients’ benefit eligibility and to cut through the bureaucratic labyrinth of applying for those benefits. Over the past three years, ABO users have helped more than 120,000 households connect to supplemental benefits worth nearly $300 million.
The main barrier to applicants collecting benefits is complexity, both of the eligibility rules and the application process. ABO successfully cuts through this complexity in multiple ways. Based on a single interview, ABO determines household eligibility for a wide variety of federal, state, local, and private benefits, populates application forms, and provides guidance through each step of the application process. The platform’s kernel is an advanced expert system used for rapid and extremely accurate eligibility determination. This expert system is managed by our proprietary benefit management system, which allows for simple and automated programming, maintenance and testing of new benefit rules and rule changes. The single interview generates multiple benefit eligibility determinations, allowing staff to focus efforts on benefits the client is likely to receive, rather than getting bogged down applying for everything. The price of an annual subscription to ABO is far less than what it would cost to have only one worker manually fill out applications for just a handful of clients a week. By simplifying and automating every aspect of the process ABO makes determining access to benefits a standard component of our customers’ client support services.
In addition, the tool is optimized to provide outcome and performance metrics necessary for managing programs, analyzing strategies and reporting results to funders. By providing detailed and concrete performance metrics, we allow our customers to justify funding requests to donors and meet governmental reporting requirements, thereby ensuring additional and continued funding for their programs. The tool becomes a revenue generator, not an expense.
For the working poor, the supplemental benefits they receive are critical to closing the gap in their household budgets. Besides addressing an immediate need, supplemental assistance allows them to continue to work or go to school and thereby eventually gain financial independence from state aid. Customers who use our tool have a direct and immediate impact on their clients’ lives.
The platform encapsulates eight years of field-tested practices and lessons, all of which have been baked into the tool’s architecture. The level of accuracy of our calculations, the tool’s assistance regarding the entire application process from start to finish, and generation of filled-out applications ensure that clients who apply for benefits are not rejected, costing them a day of work and money they can ill afford to lose.
Work on ABO began in 2008. In January 2013, we were formed as a for-profit C corporation and staffed with the original team. The new company has taken on nearly all the previous users as paying customers. Our goal is to develop, sell, and support ABO across the country to the hundreds of thousands of non-profit organizations that service the working poor in various capacities. Our current customers collectively manage and oversee 120+ community-based organizations in 18 cities across 8 states. The platform has relevance for agencies and organizations that interact with low- income populations, including those that serve children, the elderly, college students, veterans or any targeted population eligible for supplemental benefits and other income supports.
We are seeking external investment to build out the sales and operations team and create a scalable support infrastructure. This will allow us to fully capitalize on the many existing opportunities we have identified and to bring this promising platform to full scale.