Picturing a better life: FSD uses video for the benefit of Missourians

Missouri families who need some extra help – due to loss of a job, a health crisis, or long-term physical disability – often turn to the Missouri Family Support Division (FSD). For people who qualify, the FSD helps with services such as SNAP (commonly referred to as Food Stamps), Medicaid, assistance for the visually impaired, child care, daily living expenses, and other programs.


Health Literacy Media (HLM) has worked with FSD since 2015 to make its forms, notices, websites, and other customer communications as clear and easy-to-use as possible.


A new approach: video

In late 2016, the communications team in the FSD director’s office and HLM agreed that videos could be an appealing way to help customers understand and use their services.


People like pictures and video; we remember them better than words alone. In fact, research shows that this is especially true for people who have trouble reading.


To start, FSD chose 5 topics that would engage their customers:

  • FSD services and who is eligible for them

  • What you can do on the FSD website – myDSS.mo.gov

  • How to contact FSD

  • How to upload 'supporting documents' when you apply for FSD services online

  • What is an 'authorized representative'?



We recently released 5 more program-specific videos to help customers use their benefits:

  • Using your Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card to access Food Stamp or Temporary Assistance (TA) benefits

  • SkillUP job training and support program – to get work skills and experience if you receive Food Stamp benefits

  • Healthcare Industry Training & Education (HITE) program – for a career in health care

  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – for help heating or cooling your home

  • Spend down for MO HealthNet (Missouri Medicaid) – if you are blind, disabled, or 65 and older, and have an income slightly above the Medicaid limit



Creating the videos

Working with Kathleen Wilcoxson, Public Information Administrator for the FSD Director’s Office, HLM developed the video concepts, scripts, and animated graphics using evidence-based principles of health literacy. These include explaining complex terms, speaking at a moderate pace, and using simple, lively graphics.


We considered barriers that FSD customers may have, such as:

  • Low levels for reading and health literacy skills

  • English as a second language

  • Physical challenges that cause difficulty writing or getting out of the home

  • Limited or no access to a computer


Videos en Español

This year, we released Spanish-language versions of 5 previously-produced English-language videos.




All 15 of the English- and Spanish-language FSD videos created by HLM range from 2–5 minutes each in length and are closed-captioned.


You can view all the videos and other content from FSD at its YouTube channel.


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Based in St. Louis, MO - Working around the world.

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