The Financial Clinic and Propel Join Forces to Mitigate Financial Insecurity among SNAP Recipients
Starting in June, SNAP participants can access the Clinic’s virtual financial coaches directly on Propel’s Fresh EBT app, where over 3 million users track their food stamp balance, save money with coupons, and find jobs and other money-making opportunities. The Clinic’s virtual financial coaching service – which takes place in English and Spanish by phone, video conference, or email – is designed to address immediate financial insecurities triggered by COVID-19, while introducing the structure and benefits of longer-term financial coaching.
With more than 40 million workers filing for unemployment since mid-March and an economic recession underway, low-income households that receive public assistance through SNAP and other benefits programs are particularly vulnerable to shifts in the household balance sheet. For example, an increase in taxable income via unemployment insurance or – in the case of some essential workers – hazard pay could have unintended consequences on public assistance eligibility and Earned Income Tax Credit (“EITC”) amounts. In addition, low-income households are being forced to make tough decisions and trade-offs when it comes to managing expenses and planning for continued economic uncertainty. Fresh EBT provides clear, direct, timely information to help families navigate these uncertainties and, in partnership with the Clinic, is expanding those services to provide one-on-one coaching.
A leader in the financial security and asset building space for the past 15 years, the Clinic is well-attuned to the inner workings of the household balance sheets of public assistance recipients, as well as the power of financial coaching. The Clinic’s evidence based model drives outcomes in the areas of savings, credit, and debt, and its goals-oriented framework provides a sticky-factor that is designed to reduce recidivism in poverty. Due to the urgent and unforeseen nature of financial insecurity related to COVID-19, the Clinic’s virtual financial coaching service also includes an initial assessment and triage phase during which Clinic coaches provide immediate interventions and strategies to mitigate ongoing financial insecurity.
“The Clinic is thrilled to partner with Propel to bring virtual financial coaching to SNAP recipients," said Mae Watson Grote, Founder and CEO of The Financial Clinic. "Products like Fresh EBT meet a crucial demand for the communities that we serve, and the coupling of financial coaching with public benefits as a means of putting dollars back into the pockets of low-income households is one that dates back to our founding."
“SNAP participants are dealing with an unprecedented level of hardship,” said Jimmy Chen, CEO of Propel. “Through our Fresh EBT app, we’ve gotten a window into what the pandemic has meant for low-income families. Nearly all low-income workers have lost earnings due to COVID-19, and the risk of completely running out of food and resources is imminent. Stable housing is now at risk for many. Families are dealing with impossible choices and partners like The Financial Clinic are stepping up in important ways to provide free, trusted, and time sensitive support to families navigating these devastating situations. It is all hands on deck and we are grateful to partner with The Financial Clinic to bring this opportunity to households across the country." Click here to read the full press release.