Who created MyFriendBen?

MyFriendBen was created by Gary Community Ventures, a Denver-based organization. We co-designed MyFriendBen with a group of Colorado families who are participating in a direct cash assistance program. We are not a government agency, nor are we affiliated with a government agency. Read more on the About Us page.

What do we mean when we say "benefits"?

We are defining the word “benefits” to mean public benefits (includes city, county, state and federal), tax credits, financial assistance, nonprofit supports and services. MyFriendBen only includes benefits and tax credits with an annual value of at least $300 or more a year.

Is my data protected?

We take data privacy seriously and do not require that you answer questions that would identify who you are. You can opt-in to sharing your results with a benefit navigator or receiving notifications of new benefits that match your last screening profile. You can see how we handle data here.

How often is MyFriendBen updated?

We try to update MyFriendBen every two weeks because program details, such as benefit value or eligibility, may change rapidly. If you are aware of a recent change and do not see it reflected in MyFriendBen, please send us an email at myfriendben@garycommunity.org. We do our best to ensure the information is accurate and up-to-date.

Why is this an estimate and not a benefit application?

We think everyone should know the estimated value of the benefits for which they are eligible. By looking at the value of these programs and the eligibility requirements, we can provide that estimate. 

However, many programs have separate applications and are run by different government agencies or organizations. We aren’t able to combine these applications into MyFriendBen, but we can tell you where to apply and you can decide to share your results with a benefits navigator who can help you apply.

Will using MyFriendBen or benefits impact my immigration status or visa application?

Using MyFriendBen will not impact your immigration status or visa application, but before applying for any benefits we recommend reviewing the Colorado Department of Human Services Public Charge Rule. Non-US Citizens planning to apply for legal permanent residency or a visa should consider how applying for any benefits on this site may affect their immigration status or visa application.

Why did you build this?

Families told us it was difficult and time-consuming to know what benefits they were entitled to. Our goal is to increase benefit participation rates by making key information more transparent, accessible and accurate.

Is this tool open source?

Yes. We will also make every aspect of our tool open source available on GitHub. This includes the front-end React application and the back-end benefits API.