Case Study

Statewide Web Application

Case Study | Application Design

The Self Sufficiency Calculator

The Self Sufficiency Standard was originally developed by Diana Pierce with the Center for Women’s welfare and University of Washington. The self sufficiency standard allows individuals to compare their income with the ability to meet their basic needs based on self sufficiency standards for family type, location and more.  Seattle King County Workforce Development Council received a Grant from Paul Allen Grant in 2008 which allowed them to integrate the “self sufficiency standard” into a useful tool for individuals and case managers to help families. Integrating calculations for many Federal and State assistance programs, the calculator helps families compare a budget to a Self Sufficiency standard and go on and calculate eligibility and financial assistance options until self sufficiency is reached. Case Managers can login and work with clients to help them work toward and achieve self sufficiency.  Admins login to manage the system, run reports & update formula parameters.


The calculator needed a public interface for users to compare budgets, print the results but not save the output.  The case managers needed to register clients, save scenarios, run reports and track progress toward self sufficiency. The administrators need to manage case managers, update formulas and run reports on overall progress of clients over time.


A detailed Visio visual and outline laid out the three distinct areas of the site and how they shared data. Formulas were developed for Federal, state and local assistance programs and many reports were developed to track clients entrance and exit to the program and track their advancement toward self sufficiency. The public calculator is found at 

Project Scope

Project Analysis

Detailed Scope


Website Design




As the self sufficiency wage continues to rise sharply in Washington state, the self sufficiency standard and calculator become more important than ever.  Whether it’s a change in family circumstances or someone moving to the area, creating budgets, evaluating job options, the self sufficiency standard and calculator are extremely important to help individuals and families make good decisions, get the help they need and know what it takes to stay afloat.
Client:   Seattle King County Workforce Development Council Project Scope:   A Statewide Budgeting & Planning Tool.
WDC’s throughout the state use the self sufficiency standard and calculator to support career planning, help individuals understand where they are starting, explore options and make decisions about  what to do next.

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