Our story

Scroll through more than 25 years of change that matters.

Smart Policy Works was founded in 1992 – during the era of welfare reform – with the sole purpose of improving access to public benefits programs and preserving the integrity of the Social Security Disability Income programs. Our work has grown exponentially since then, but we work today toward the same purpose: to break down economic, social, and structural barriers to health and well-being.



Protesters with signs, including Don't cut my Home CareHDA led advocacy against the “Save Medicaid Access and Resources Together” bill, demonstrating how the cuts to Medicaid would negatively impact beneficiaries, especially due to elimination of the Illinois Cares Rx program.

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SSI Homeless Outreach Project

Vernice Deller, 55, had been living in an abandoned building near 63rd and Ashland.

Adverse childhood experiences such as abuse and neglect, domestic violence, and parental abandonment and incarceration, are common among homeless adults. The SSI Homeless Outreach Project specializes in providing trauma-informed advocacy to persons who are homeless, disabled, and who are survivors of such experiences. It reaches out to Chicago’s homeless and mentally ill adults, connecting them with SSI benefits and supportive services.

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Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children

Severe medical problems had kept 11-year-old Malik, out of conventional schools.

Poor housing conditions, lack of health insurance, or inadequate educational supports can be damaging to a child’s health and development. Often families in these situations do not have the resources to deal with such challenges. The Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children brings together medicine, law, and social work to provide free legal assistance and advocacy to vulnerable families and children so they can access public benefits and education.

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AllKids logoA state-run program in Illinois, AllKids provides comprehensive healthcare benefits for children in lower-income households, the first state plan to hold forth the promise of universal health care coverage for children.

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