GovBenefits.gov celebrates fourth anniversary

GovBenefits.gov

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The Labor Department celebrated the fourth anniversary of GovBenefits.gov Friday with birthday cake and a panel discussion about e-government.

At the celebration, Labor bestowed a Partner Appreciation Award to the Education Department, and Dennis Egan, a computer specialist at the Agriculture Department, won the Individual Contributor Award.

GovBenefits.gov is intended to be a one-stop site for information on government benefits. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 it was one source that disaster victims could turn to to learn about available benefits. The Web site has links to about half of lawmakers’ official Web sites and partners with 16 agencies as a central location for government information. It is expanding to include state-related information.

The role GovBenefits.gov played after Hurricane Katrina proved that government Web sites, and e-government overall, must understand their constituencies to be successful, said Karen Evans, administrator of e-government and information technology at the Office of Management and Budget.

“If it’s useful and really needed, it will sustain itself,” said Evans, a panelist at the discussion. Government must be an authoritative source on information, she said, and its information must be consistent and convenient for the public.

The panel discussed other e-government initiatives, too. The Interior Department’s Recreation One-Stop will be tied to the new geospatial line of business to show its constituents where to have fun, said Charlie Grymes, the project’s program manager and panelist.

“Success comes when you understand who you’re talking to,” said panelist Stuart Willoughby, the program manager for the General Service Administration’s USA Services.

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