We would like to be able to build a mechanism that can collect data from photos of various documents and use that data to automatically fill out applications for COVID-19 relief and ongoing safety-net programs. At the present time there is no universal portal that can be used to apply for Unemployment Insurance, CalFresh, and Medi-Cal at the same time, for instance. Each of these must be filled out separately. And if the person applying does not have a Social Security Number, then. they are ineligible for all three. But if they have children, those children are eligible for CalFresh, Medi-Cal, and other forms of assistance. We are facing tremendous food insecurity, for example, during the global pandemic, but have not seen a spike in enrollment for CalFresh that parallels the spike in claims for Unemployment Insurance, etc. We do not believe it is possible for anyone to get all the help that is theoretically available to them. We believe that we can help persons, including those with limited literacy and limited English-language proficiency through the cameras and text messaging and internet access that are available to them via even the most basic smartphones. But we need help to develop a prototype.

Fall 2020
Social Sciences