Date of Publication



Introduction: Vermont has programs to assist low income individuals in obtaining basic needs such as health insurance, food security, fuel assistance, housing and transportation. However, these services are often underutilized by eligible individuals. Major barriers to enrollment include lack of knowledge about available programs and their income cutoffs, cumbersome application processes, literacy barriers, and lack of transportation to application sites. In other states, efforts to reduce these barriers have included shortened application forms, removal of asset tests, mail-in applications, media outreach, and eligibility workers placed in outreach agencies. Many studies suggest that the presence of an eligibility worker at a community health center can help overcome some social service enrollment barriers.


Jon Bourgo, Community Health Center of Burlington

Rodger Kessler, PhD, University of Vermont College of Medicine


Community Health Center of Burlington


Access to Health Services, Health Communication and Health Information Technology, Public Health Infrastructure


Presented at the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting and Expo, Philadelphia, PA; November 8, 2009 as "How Can I Help You? Eligibility Worker: Navigating Patients Through the Social Services Maze," by Claire Ankuda, Bennett Kelmendi, Phillip Lam, Amy Odefey, Mimi Ogawa, Chase Petersen, Emily Schonberg, Jon Bourgo, Rodger Kessler and Jan K. Carney, MD MPH.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License

How Can I Help You?Eligibility Worker: Navigating Patients Through the Social Services Maze