The Opportunity Grant

Q: Under your proposal, would every person have to work with a case manager?

A: No, we don’t require states to use case management. We simply highlight one promising model. Under our proposal, states would have to maintain work requirements and time limits, but they would be free to use whatever methods they preferred—as long as they offered multiple choices of providers and then tested the results. Not everyone would need case management, and states would have the flexibility to provide different types of aid for people in different circumstances.

Q: Would you have to sign a contract to receive aid?

A: No, our plan does not require people to sign a contract. But in many cases, a contract is an integral part of case management because it holds people accountable. We think if you receive taxpayers’ dollars, taxpayers have a right to expect something in return. We follow this principle in other federal programs. For instance, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families has work requirements and time limits. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program also has work requirements.

And in exchange for greater accountability, case management could offer a more personalized, customized form of aid. People could go to one office for all their needs, and a case manager could coordinate their benefits to help them achieve their goals.

Q: Won’t states have to spend a lot of money on hiring staff instead of providing benefits?

A: The Opportunity Grant will actually streamline assistance programs. By consolidating up to eleven programs, we will eliminate duplicative efforts and reduce administrative costs. And by coordinating aid between the public and private sector and more rigorously testing the results, we can make sure more money goes to people in need, not bureaucrats.