Financial Help for Single Mothers in Minnesota

Parenting is quite a challenge for single mothers, both socially and economically.

The entire responsibility of raising their children on their own is often too overwhelming. For many, each paycheck is about survival for herself and her family.

It’s without doubt that many of these families need financial aid to survive.

Good thing is, the state of Minnesota recognizes their plight and is offering the much needed financial assistance.

1Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)

Minnesota Family Investment Program, or MFIP, is the state’s welfare reform program for helping low-income families with children move out of poverty through work. The goal is to encourage work, reduce dependence on public assistance, and reduce poverty.

Eligibility for MFIP is based on family’s income and assets. A single mother of two with no other income may receive up to $532 per month in cash assistance.

Most people have to participate in a Diversionary Work Program (DWP) before they start to get MFIP benefits. This is to help parents find a job and obtain work rather than receive welfare.

2Minnesota Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The SNAP is a county-run, state-supervised federal program that helps low-income Minnesotans get the food they need for sound nutrition and well-balanced diet. The program issues electronic benefits that help stretch their food budget.

The amount of benefits your household can get is based on the income, expenses and number of people in your household. The average monthly benefit amount per person in Minnesota is $118.

If you need food right now, Minnesota Hunger Partners and the Minnesota Food Helpline (1-888-711-1151), a program of Hunger Solutions Minnesota, can help you find a food bank or meal.

3Minnesota Food Assistance Program (MFAP)

MFAP is provided to non-citizens who do not receive benefits from the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), who do not qualify for SNAP due to citizenship requirements, and who are 50 years of age or older.

Participants receive the same amount of food assistance they would have been eligible for under the SNAP program. MFAP benefits are issued through an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, which can be used to purchase food at retailers that accept EBT.

4Minnesota Medical Assistance

Medical Assistance (MA) is Minnesota’s Medicaid program that provides health care coverage to low-income Minnesotans. MA does not have a premium (monthly fee). However, members do have small co-pays for some services (cost sharing), usually $1 – $3.

As Minnesota is expanding Medicaid coverage, nearly all uninsured Minnesotans age 19-64 with income up to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL) may now gain coverage. The current threshold for parents is 215% — the second highest eligibility threshold nationally, behind District of Columbia.

Minnesota is also operating a State-Based Marketplace, known as MNSure — through which you can apply for Medicaid, MinnesotaCare or other private health insurance.


MinnesotaCare is the state’s CHIP program that provides comprehensive health care coverage for Minnesotans who meet certain eligibility requirements and do not have access to health insurance.

Services covered by MinnesotaCare include doctor visits, immunizations, hospitalization, prescriptions, eye exams, eye glasses, dental care and more.

Premiums are based on household size, income and the number of people getting coverage. Some low-income families pay as little as $4 per month. No co-payment for pregnant women and children under 21.

6Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)

The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) helps parents with lower incomes pay for child care. Priority is given to families on MFIP — Minnesota’s welfare program.

Families that qualify for the CCAP can choose their own child care provider. Since it’s a subsidy, the county that you live in pays part of the cost of your child care and you have to pay a co-payment to the provider each month.

Generally families with very low incomes do not have a co-pay. Others may pay between $10 and a few hundred dollars each month depending on their income and family size.

In some counties, there is often a waiting list in place so it is best to apply as soon as possible to get on the list. To find out if your county has a waiting list, click here.

7Minnesota Special Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

Minnesota WIC is a nutrition program that provides nutrition and health education, healthy food and other services, at no cost, to Kansas families who qualify.

The program serves pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children in Kansas whose gross income falls below certain limits; and who are at risk for nutritional deficiencies.

Families who are already eligible to participate in any of the following programs: Medical Assistance; MinnesotaCare; SNAP; Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP); and Energy Assistance are automatically eligible for the WIC Program without proof of income.

8Minnesota Energy Assistance Program

Minnesota Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps pay home heating costs for low-income households, particularly those with the lowest income, that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy.

To qualify for the EAP, applicants must have an income that falls within the program guidelines. Priority is granted to households with the elderly, disabled or a young child under age 5.

Eligible households will receive between $100 to $1400 of assistance. Those with the lowest incomes and the highest cost for energy will get the most help paying their bills.

9Minnesota Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment insurance benefits provide a temporary partial wage replacement to workers unemployed through no fault of their own that meet Minnesota’s eligibility requirements.

In Minnesota, the weekly benefit amount is about 50% of your average weekly wage — up to a maximum of $610. As a condition of eligibility, you are required to actively seek suitable employment each week that you are collecting benefits.

You can apply for UI benefits either online or by phone using the Applicant Self-Service System, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To file your claim over the phone, one of the following phone numbers:

Twin Cities Area
Greater Minnesota

10Minnesota Postsecondary Child Care Grant Program

The Postsecondary Child Care Grant Program provides financial assistance to students who have children 12 and under to help pay for child care while pursuing a postsecondary education.

To be eligible, you must demonstrate financial need AND are not receiving assistance under the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP).

The maximum award amount is $2,800 per eligible child per academic year. The amount of the award, however, cannot exceed 40 hours of child care per week per eligible child.

11Minnesota State Grant

Minnesota State Grant is designed to help low and middle income students pay for college1. To be considered for this grant, you must be a Minnesota resident with the requisite level of financial need.

The minimum annual award is $100. Average awards range from $1800 to $2400 a year (subject to appropriations). Deadline is no later than 30 days after the start of the semester for which you are applying.

  1. In 2012, 42% of State Grant funds goes to students with family incomes below $20,000, 36% goes to those with incomes between $20,000 and $50,000, and the rest goes to those with incomes over $50,000. []