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Claiming services helping people to access vital public services

Platforms that make vital government services, including social security, health care and personal identity, accessible to the citizens.

Hybrid model mixing online and offline services

Integrating local populations in service delivery

Going door to door to reach target audiences, supposed by sophisticated tech platform

Likely to be championed by the private sector

*Building on the examples of Haqdarshak in India, DoNotPay in UK, Justfix.nyc in USA.

In what setting?

Claiming platforms empower citizens who need vital government services, including social security, health care and personal identity. They seem to be an answer to unresponsive government agencies. They help people to cope with bureaucratic procedures and thus make services equally accessible.

Claiming platforms for vital public services are fast developing. Their effectiveness depends on the level of maturity of the public administration and judiciary in any country. Services that provide access to digital identity have proven to be useful in lower income countries. In the US, Turbotax is a private service helping to file tax returns, whereas in other countries the government has set up user-friendly tax filing portals. The more public services are effectively delivered by the state, the less claiming platforms are needed.

Claiming in high income countries is now mostly supported online, matching levels of access to the internet. In countries such as India, a sophisticated virtual platform is being taken door to door by local agents at village level. A hybrid service is also needed for some groups in high income countries (migrants, illiterate and low capability people). The offline help is then delivered by social workers and legal aid lawyers.

Case Studies

Haqdarshak is a tech platform that connects citizens with their eligible welfare schemes in India. The technology matches citizen profile with scheme eligibility to determine a customised list of eligible schemes. The research ensures that the information is pertinent, and updated. Organisations then helps citizens to apply for the schemes to ensure last-mile support.

From the portfolio of HiiL, JustFix.nyc is another claiming platform working on tenants’ rights, as well as Appruve from Ghana in the space of digital identity.  

Other examples of Claiming Platforms are: DoNotPay (USA), Upsolve (USA) and Promise (USA).

Photo by Haqdarshak

Photo by Haqdarshak

Meet Aniket Doegar- He delivers social security benefits to millions of Indians

Aniket Doegar, a 34-year-old entrepreneur from India, has helped 4.2 million people get social security benefits like health insurance, pension, scholarship, subsidised gas, crop insurance and many others. Using his online platform Haqdarshaq, people can identify the welfare programmes they are eligible for and apply for the same. 

A promising student from India’s renowned Lady Sriram College of Commerce, Aniket always knew that he wanted to work for the betterment of the people. Instead of pursuing a career in business or finance, he chose to become a teacher with Teach for India. Soon, he bloomed into a dynamic and mission-driven entrepreneur. Read his inspiring story to know more. 

Towards Gamechanging Claiming Platforms

Investing in scaling to other geographies
Ensuring access to vital government services, claiming platforms proliferate. Haqdarshak for social security schemes in India and Turbotax for tax returns in the US fulfill a similar role. Replication and standardisation is possible once the system is put in place for one geography. To scale these platforms to other geographies, significant investments are needed. Solution will vary depending upon the geographical context. Haqdarshak covers social benefits schemes offered in several Indian states.
Investing in scaling to other geographies
Clear outcomes for clients, revenue models available
A claiming platform is successful if the vital government service in question is provided. For such platforms, a revenue model is not difficult to find. They usually take a cut in the benefits provided or levy a fee. If the claiming platform intends to serve the poorest 20% of the population, it can attract subsidies from donors or governments.
Clear outcomes for clients, revenue models available
From low hanging fruit to pressing justice needs
Innovators setting up claiming platforms cannot be blamed for focusing on low hanging fruit. Donotpay and Appjection were set up to object against traffic fines. Several websites specialise on refunds for delayed passengers of airlines. Claiming adequate health care, identity documents or access to clean water may be more complicated.
From low hanging fruit to pressing justice needs
A delicate balancing act with government services
The cost structure of the claiming platform depends on how difficult it is to let the government agency be responsive. If hundreds of claims are filed in an organised way, the government agency can respond to these claims against lower costs. But what if the government agency does not have the capacity to deliver sufficient electricity or clean water? Then political lobbying or a class action in a formal court may be needed.  
A delicate balancing act with government services
Once the customer-facing side of public services is responsive, the need for claiming platforms diminishes
Successful claiming services and government agencies typically start cooperating and develop a public-private partnership. Ironically, the claiming services thrive when the existing system of delivering public services are inefficient in reaching people, but not incapable. A successful public private partnership may be possible where claiming services are seamlessly integrated with government services
Once the customer-facing side of public services is responsive, the need for claiming platforms diminishes

Claiming platforms: a delicate balancing act

Suggestions for what should be addressed in a feasibility study

Ensuring access to vital government services, claiming platforms proliferate. Haqdarshak for social security schemes in India and Turbotax for tax returns in the US fulfill a similar role. Replication and standardisation is possible once the system is put in place for one geography. Significant investments to scale to other geographies can be needed. For a different geography, different treatment may be needed. Haqdarshak covers social benefits schemes offered in several Indian states.

Outcomes for clients are clear: success equals the vital government service is provided. A revenue model is not difficult to find. Claiming platforms take a cut in the benefits provided or levy a fee. If the claiming platform intends to serve the poorest 20% of the population, it can attract subsidies from donors or governments.

Innovators setting up claiming platforms cannot be blamed to focus on low hanging fruit. Donotpay and Appjection were set up to object against traffic fines. Several websites specialise on refunds for delayed passengers of airlines. 

Claiming adequate health care, identity documents or access to clean water may be more complicated. The cost structure of the claiming platform depends on how difficult it is to let the government agency be responsive. Claiming platforms typically make procedures less burdensome for clients and for the government agency. If hundreds of claims are filed in an organised way, the government agency can respond to these claims against lower costs. But what if the government agency does not have the capacity to deliver sufficient electricity or clean water? Then political lobbying or a class action in a formal court may be needed.

The relationship with the targeted government agency is a delicate balancing act. Successful claiming services and government agencies typically start cooperating and develop a public-private partnership. Ironically, the claiming services thrive when the existing system of delivering public services are inefficient in reaching people, but not incapable. Once the customer-facing side of public services is responsive, the need for claiming platforms diminishes. 

The task force should consider carefully whether claiming platforms can lead to the outcomes people with pressing justice problems actually need. This depends on the capability of the public service. Access to a low value public (court) service does not help. Then the next question is how the private service, a hybrid service or even a public service can bridge the efficiency gap. Claiming services are competing with other intermediaries and operate in the narrow space between incapable and responsive government services.