"We Live in a Technological Era, Whether You Like It or Not": Client Perspectives and Online Welfare Applications

Andrea Hetling, Stevie Watson, Meghan Horgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

A growing number of state welfare agencies are using the Internet to communicate with potential and current clients. Although public management benefits are clear, little is known about client perspectives. This mixed-methods research project examines the topics of application security, reliability, appropriateness, and ease of use, and personal experiences of potential users to understand opinions of online welfare applications. Focus group findings highlight direct benefits, such as speed and ease of use, and indirect benefits, such as holding caseworkers accountable and avoiding unpleasant office conditions. Study participants also identified exceptions like emergencies and applicants with special needs. Despite mixed feelings, many participants preferred online applications to in-person, worker-led eligibility interviews.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-547
Number of pages29
JournalAdministration and Society
Volume46
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing

Keywords

  • TANF
  • e-government
  • online applications
  • welfare modernization

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