North Dakota’s labor market is heavily weighted toward the services sector, which has a high proportion of minimum to low wage jobs.
Despite having one of the lowest rate of unemployment in the country,1 there is still a significant gap between earnings and the actual costs of basic necessities.
Without adequate assistance, single mothers earning low wages are more likely to struggle just to make ends meet.
To address these inadequacies, the state of North Dakota offers programs for its most vulnerable residents.
TANF provides monthly cash assistance for poor families with children under age 18 along with work readiness, training and job placement services. The aim is to provide necessary assistance to needy families with children on a temporary basis.
Unless determined to be exempt, most TANF recipients are required to participate in the Job Opportunity and Basic Skills (JOBS) program which is the employment and training component of North Dakota’s TANF program.
If you have a child under age 6, you must, as a condition of eligibility, participate in an approved work activity for an average of 20 hours per week.
SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) helps low-income people and families in North Dakota with cash assistance to buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. The average monthly SNAP benefit for a family of three in North Dakota is $401.2
There is no limit to the length of time you can receive benefits for SNAP. Time limits and requirements for other programs such as TANF do not apply to the receipt of SNAP.
Eligible households are issued a Dakota EBT Card used to make food purchases at at one of the 231,000 authorized retail locations around the country, 500 in North Dakota.
How to apply for SNAP/TANF in North Dakota? To apply for SNAP/TANF, please contact the local County Social Service Office in the county in which you reside.
Medicaid is a program designed to assist individuals and families who are uninsured, or who have health insurance that does not cover all of the individual’s or family’s medical needs.
It covers families with children up to age 21, pregnant women, women with breast or cervical cancer and people who are aging, blind and disabled.
As North Dakota is expanding Medicaid coverage, Medicaid now covers almost all non-elderly adults up to 133% of poverty and children with family incomes up to 147% of poverty.
Healthy Steps provides health coverage to uninsured children in North Dakota whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private coverage.
For most families, it’s free. The only out-of-pocket costs are a $2 co-payment for each prescription, a $5 co-payment for each emergency room visit, and a $50 co-payment for each hospital admission.
North Dakota is one of only two (2) states to set eligibility for CHIP below 200% FPL, leaving many lower income families without an affordable coverage option for their children.
For eligibility questions, contact
N.D. Department of Human Services
North Dakota CCAP is the state subsidy program targeted at low-income families who need help paying for child care. It provides assistance with payment for child care on a sliding fee basis for eligible parents.
Most families pay a co-payment, which is the amount you are required to pay towards the costs of child care — this sliding fee chart shows what the co-payment would be based on your income and household size.
For more information on the N.D. Child Care Assistance Program, contact the N.D. Department of Human Services’ Economic Assistance Policy Division at 1-800-755-2716.
WIC is a nutrition program that provides nutrition and health education, healthy food, health screenings and other services, at no cost, to qualifying families in Dakota.
The program serves pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children younger than 5 years of age whose gross income falls below certain limits; and who are at risk for nutritional deficiencies.
If you’re on SNAP or Medicaid, you will automatically qualify for WIC since these programs have stricter income limits. But you still need to have a nutritional risk fully qualify.
LIHEAP helps eligible low-income families with home heating costs. The program partially pays the cost of natural gas, electricity, propane, fuel oil, coal, wood, or other fuel sources.
Application for LIHEAP is available at your county social services office or you can submit online via OASYS. Applications are NOT accepted from June 1 to September 30.
Cooling assistance is also available for individuals 60 years of age and older and for those with certain medical conditions who qualify for LIHEAP — up to a maximum of $800 per household.
For more information on program benefits and eligibility, call
8North Dakota Unemployment Insurance
Unemployment insurance (UI) provides temporary income support to workers unemployed through no fault of their own that meet North Dakota’s eligibility requirements.
Those who file for a new claim may be entitled to up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. Weekly benefit amounts range from a minimum of $43 to a maximum of $606.
There are two ways to file your claim either online using Job Service North Dakota’s UI ICE or by telephone using the automated telephone system by calling (701) 328-4995.
Also known as the State Grant Program, this program awards up to $975 per semester or $650 per quarter to first-time undergraduate students who attend North Dakota’s public, private and tribal colleges.
Application is via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Deadline for priority consideration is April 15th, but applications are accepted until all funds are committed.
- Source: Wintery Knight – Fracking propels North Dakota to 3.2% unemployment rate
- Average Monthly Food Stamp Benefits Per Person