New life events and features for USAGov’s benefits locator

August 08, 2023   Posted by: BEARS team

Women with coffee in hand smiling at computer. Text: USAGov's Benefit Locator Tool Update

In 2022, USAGov launched a government benefits locator tool. It was created following extensive research on how to help people find benefits for specific life events. The tool is available in English and Spanish and started with one life event, the death of a loved one, to find survivor benefits after losing someone close. By answering a few questions, people can learn about as many as 33 survivor benefits from seven government agencies that they might qualify for. 

Recently, we launched some important additions to the tool, including two new life events. One helps people approaching retirement. The other helps people dealing with disability or illness. We chose these events because multiple agencies offer many benefits for them, and these events touch the lives of a large part of the population. A majority of people working in the U.S. will retire. And as many as one in four adults in the U.S. have a disability. Many others will experience a short-term disability in their lifetime.

3 sections for the 3 benefits, section 1: person consoling friend, text: 33 possible benefits for the death of a loved one. Section 2: senior couple walking on beach. Text: 18 possible benefits for retirement. Section 3: person with prosthetic leg on computer. Text: 22 possible benefits for disabilities.

Approaching retirement

Retirement can be daunting. There are many things to plan during this important transition, and government benefits can help with health care, retirement income, and other needs and costs of this new phase of life. The retirement benefits locator contains 18 benefits offered by seven agencies. When a person answers some basic questions, the tool filters a tailored list of retirement benefits they may qualify to receive. 


For people living with a disability or an illness, the disability benefits locator with 22 benefits from nine agencies can help. Whether someone has a short- or long-term disability or illness, this tool makes it easy to find benefits to help with medical care, basic living expenses, finding a job, and more.

Other benefits locator updates

We also created other modifications based on user research, including making the content more empathetic and conversational. We added a subheading acknowledging the importance of life events and the tool's purpose. We included an introduction for each life event that empathizes with users going through that event. And we simplified and reduced language in the instructions, inviting users to get right to answering the questions with the least distractions so they can find benefits as soon as possible. 

As we continue to research our users’ needs and the government benefits that can meet them, we’ll add to and improve our collection of benefit locators. And we’ll continue to let you know what we discover. 

To read more about how our benefit locators began, read these blog posts: Creating a New Way for People to Discover Government Benefits, Helping People Discover Benefits With the New BEARS Locator, and Benefits Eligibility Awareness Resource Service (BEARS) from the 10x blog.

About this Blog

USAGov, and work to make it easier for people to find information from their government about the services they need. Follow our journey and help us learn as we go. 

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