Certificado Único de Discapacidad (CUD) – Redesign of the granting service of the Unique Certificate of Disability
Obtaining a Certificado Único de Discapacidad (CUD, a disability certificate) in Argentina was a complex, painful and difficult process. It was a citizen’s right, but did was not a digital service. The process lasted up to 7 months and had 4 steps. There is now one step. A wizard guides citizens in the requirements of the application, an online appointment system schedules the interview and proactively provides notifications in the citizen's digital profile. The redesign of the service put citizen needs before bureaucracy in order to provide high-quality service.
The experience of obtaining a Unique Certificate of Disability (CUD) in Argentina was a complex, painful and difficult process for citizens.
Obtaining the Unique Certificate of Disability (CUD) is a right for the people with disabilities but it did not have an appropriate digital service and it was imperative to reformulate its process to help citizens in this stage of their lives.
How can Government accompany citizens at a time when they are requesting a certificate that only makes the pain more evident when you ask for it? Making the process simpler, easier and more accessible.
For 4 months we worked as a team with the National Agency for Disability. At the end, a procedure that lasted up to 7 months and had 4 steps now has only 1.
Redesigning a service to a single step is the summary of implementing a wizard assistant to guide citizens in the requirements for applying for the CUD according to their needs, preventing them from going to the offices to see what documentation they must bring with them. Implementing an online appointment system, to schedule the interview with the Medical Evaluation Board and thus avoid hours and hours of waiting in queues in public offices. It is to integrate the CUD in the digital profile of the citizen “Mi Argentina”, setting proactive reminders of the expiration dates of the CUD and offering help with the renewal, giving access to personalized information and new services.
Redesign a service such as the granting of the CUD is to put in the people, that is in a stage of vulnerability in their life, in front of the bureaucracy and provide a service of quality.
In Argentina it is estimated that 3 million people have some disability. To certify this disability, the Medical Evaluation Boards distributed throughout the country issue a Unique Certificate of Disability (CUD) that allows people to access the rights and benefits provided by the Government. According to the National Agency for Disability, 1,405,687 certificates have been issued to the present.
Until a few months ago, obtaining the CUD was a process that consisted of multiple steps, all of them require going in person to a public office:
• Inquire the requirements, documentation and studies needed according to the type of disability and the age of the person;
• Submit all the documentation to obtain an appointment in the corresponding Medical Evaluation Board;
• Attend to the evaluation by the Board;
• Get the paper certificate.
We interview people with disabilities, their families and health workers, to understand how was the better way in which Government could improve this service:
"My son Tomás is 6 years old and he was diagnosed with Asperger, so he needs to attend school with a therapeutic companion. We needed the CUD to access medical and healthcare benefits; It is a painful process, it takes a lot of time, and you get confused every time with the information that is given, each time some document was missing or they have forgot to tell me it was necessary. The information given is different according to which person attended to you in the public office."
"The forms are in PDF and my reader does not understand them"
With the aim of simplifying the process, and in order to avoid that the people need to go to an office to find out about the requirements, documents and medical studies needed, we work together with the National Agency for Disability in a unique system of consultation in Argentina.gob.ar, with accessible and personalized forms, according the age, health problem category, place of residence and type of procedure (renewal, obtaining for the first time, change of gender).
In this way, we unify the list of requirements, avoiding discretional information in the requesting of documents and granting of appointments, digitizing the beginning of the procedure.
The second step was to simplify the access to an appointment for the in person evaluation, not only so that people can choose the day and time of attention that best suits their needs, but also receive a notification reminding of the appointment and documentation needed by email.
In this order, we launched a strategy to implement the National Appointment System in the 453 Medical Evaluation Boards that evaluates the obtaining of the CUD throughout the country.
Finally, we incorporate the CUD obtention process to citizen’s digital profile “Mi Argentina”, where citizens can access reminders about the expiration dates of the CUD and get personalized information about the services that they can access once the CUD is obtained: as how to get an appointment for the Automotive Symbol and which benefits I could have with it.
When redesigning a service such as the obtention of the CUD, we are not only simplifying, speeding up, giving transparency and digitizing a procedure, we are also accompanying people in a difficult process to provide them with the service they deserve.
What Makes Your Project Innovative?
We developed a unique system of consultation in Argentina.gob.ar, with accessible and personalized forms. We unify requirements, avoid potential discretionalities when requesting documents and digitize the start of the process.
We also simplify the access to the evaluation, we created a strategy for the implementation of the National Appointment System throughout the country, so that people can choose the day and time of attention, but also receive by email a reminder with the requirements to access the query.
Finally, we incorporate the process of the CUD to Mi Argentina, where the citizen can see reminders of the expiration of the CUD and obtain personalized information about services.
Through creativity and innovation, we redesigned a service such as the Granting of the CUD but not only simplified, streamlined, transparent and digitized a procedure, but we accompanied people in a difficult process to provide the service they deserve, transforming the experience of the citizen.
What is the current status of your innovation?
We are in the process of implementing the National Appointment System in the 453 Medical Evaluation Boards across the country, which includes infrastructure and training.
Also, we are in permanent review and evaluation to find improvements and provide a more efficient and quality service.
Collaborations & Partnerships
This project is the result of the work of an interdisciplinary team composed of programmers, developers and designers, but also psychologists, political scientists, anthropologists and sociologists, among others, and the collaborative work of related government offices, as the National Agency for Disability.
We used different tools to provide quality public services, always thinking in building user-centred and user-driven services.
Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries
Citizens: People with disabilities and their families, only need to go one time to the Medical Evaluation Board, for the evaluation and getting the certificate, they can access online all the information and the appointment.
National Agency for Disability: Get clearer visibility about how many people is demanding the service and useful data to improve appointments offer (time and geographical).
Medical Evaluation Boards: Get to manage appointments in order, without people queuing for hours.
Results, Outcomes & Impacts
- The number of times that citizens had to approach a Government office in person to obtain information or perform some type of procedure was reduced from four to one.
- Through the simplification, transparency and digitalization of the procedure.
- Currently we have 15.500 CUD users in registered in Mi Argentina, from where the citizen can see reminders of the expiration of the CUD and obtain personalized information about the related services.
Challenges and Failures
The greatest challenge is the implementation of the National Appointment System in the Medical Evaluation Boards, as they are part of the local governments health systems and the implementation is carried out thanks to an agreement between them and central Government.
First of all, not all the Medical Evaluations Boards have Internet. In some cases, the local governments are taking care of the issue bringing connectivity to the office. In other cases, central Government is working in fixing connectivity issues through the National Telecommunications Company (ARSAT) with the Internet Federal Plan.
The second challenge is to change the service delivery culture of public employees, to one centered on citizen needs to improve service quality overall. This is being carried out throughout a training program centered on the professionalization on citizen service delivery, these courses give points that allow the public employee to advance in the public administration career.
Conditions for Success
The success of this innovation it was necessary, Supporting infrastructure and services, Policy and rules, Leadership and guidance
Human and financial resources, Personal values and motivation, but the most important, the capability of believe that it would be possible.
Building user-centred and user-driven service is innovative in Argentine Government.
Its replicability is possible in any local government or organization, Focusing to provide quality services to people, reversing the traditional relationship between the government and the citizen. The government provide proactively personalized information, anticipating the need of people.
This is being accompanied with a training program centered on the professionalization on citizen service delivery, these courses give points that allow the public employee to advance in the public administration career.
When we are working in service delivery, especially those for vulnerable population or in vulnerable stages in the life of citizens, as it might be obtaining a disability certificate for the first time, we need to keep the processes that citizens need to do with Governments to the bare minimum.
User research must be carried out frequently, as there is no such thing as a perfectly designed service, and the services need to be improved regularly based in the feedback of its users.
Changing delivery culture in the public sector, as difficult it may seem or as many barriers one may encounters, is mandatory if real change in service delivery is intended.
Implementing projects in coordination with different government levels (municipal, provincial and central) will take time. But, as we simplify processes than in other way make citizen act as “delivery boys” going from one Government agent to another, carrying documentation and making them responsible for getting the whole and correct information needed to access to a service that is, in fact, a right of the person, as it is the Unique Certificate of Disability (CUD), we have the chance to make the most significant impact, implementing good and simple services. Once the model or pilot is implemented in first places, replications become easier, cheaper and faster.