GovBenefits.gov celebrates first year

GovBenefits.gov

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The Labor Department celebrated the first anniversary of GovBenefits.gov, which now provides information on all federal benefit programs for citizens.

The portal, which grew from 55 programs to 417, offers citizens information about benefits and helps determine their eligibility. It is one of 24 e-government initiatives outlined in the President's Management Agenda. The Labor Department is a managing partner in the initiative, eligibility assistance online, with several other agencies.

"Before GovBenefits.gov, there was no single point of access for citizens and other stakeholders trying to determine what government services they want, need and want to know is available," Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao said April 29.

The programs featured on the site represent more than $2 trillion in annual benefit funds. Since its start last year, the site has received more than 4 million hits. At a celebration marking the first anniversary of the initiative, Labor deputy secretary Cameron Findlay demonstrated the Web site, showing two sets of about 100 questions that citizens answer for personalized benefit information. However, the site does not require citizens to enter personal information, such as a Social Security number.

"It's a wonderful time to be working in the federal government," said Clay Johnson, nominee for deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget. "We're doing things to change the way the federal government does business."

Rep. Adam Putnam (R.-Fla.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census Subcommittee, commended Labor officials for their work, saying they understand that e-government is a major technological and cultural change. "E-gov has to be habitual through the government ranks," he said.

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