Labor launches the first of OMB's 24 e-gov projects

Labor launches the first of OMB's 24 e-gov projects

A government benefits portal is the first Office of Management and Budget e-government initiative to get off the ground.

The portal, up and running at www.govbenefits.gov, is connected to the FirstGov portal and consolidates 55 benefits programs through one Web address. The Labor Department, the project's managing partner, plans to officially launch the revved-up site on Monday.

Users can answer some general questions and a screening tool points them to a list of benefits programs that likely will meet their needs.

Labor has included information about the most popular programs in this first version of the site, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and student loan programs.

'If you tried to look up each of these programs and understand the rules, it would be like reading the IRS tax code, very dense and complex,' said Ed Hugler, deputy assistant secretary of Labor for operations and its e-government project manager. 'The staff that created this Web site reduced the volumes of complex rules.'

Hugler said the questions, which were approved by the agencies running the programs, achieved an 80 percent accuracy rating during testing.

Labor plans to add more than 200 other programs in 60- to 90-day cycles, he said.

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