Help for Single Mothers in MINNESOTA

Minnesota, MN

Parenting can be quite a challenge for single mothers, both socially and economically — particularly those with lower incomes. It’s without doubt that many of these families, even during the best of times, need public assistance to stay afloat.

Minnesota Working Family Credit #

Minnesota Working Family Credit (WFC) is a refundable credit for working individuals and families whose income is below a certain level — similar to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Minnesota's WFC is calculated based on a family’s earnings and household size. Families with two or more children qualify for larger credits while workers with no dependent children qualify for much less.

0 $295 $600
1 $1,183 $3,995
2 $2,283 $6,604
3 or more $2,646 $7,430

In addition to WFC, Minnesota has a refundable child tax credit worth up to $1,750 for each qualifying dependent under age 18, the highest of any state’s child credit to date.

How do I qualify for Minnesota Working Family Credit?

To see if you are eligible for the state credit, complete Schedule M1WFC, Minnesota Working Family Credit. To claim the credit, you must file a state tax return (Form M1, Individual Income Tax) and Schedule M1WFC.

I qualify for the Federal EITC. Does that mean I also qualify for Minnesota’s Working Family Credit?

Not necessarily. Minnesota’s rules are different from the federal rules. As a result, there are circumstances when you may qualify for the federal credit, but not for the state credit.

Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) #

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

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.

How much cash assistance will I get in MN?

Eligibility for MFIP is based on family’s income and assets. A single mother of two with no other income may receive up to $641 per month in cash assistance ― for up to a period of 60 months.

MFIP Housing Assistance Grant

Beginning July 1, 2015, MFIP-eligible families who are not currently receiving public housing or assisted rental subsidies will also receive $110 each month to help pay for housing.

Minnesota Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) #

Minnesota 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.

Benefit levels vary based on the income, expenses and number of people in the household. For example, a family of three with no income may receive up to $740 in monthly SNAP benefits.

  • Family Size SNAP Benefits
  • 1 $281
  • 2 $516
  • 3 $740
  • 4 $939
  • 5 $1,116
  • 6 $1,339
  • 7 $1,480
  • 8 $1,691

The actual SNAP benefit amounts are based on a household's net income with a general rule that an increase of $100 in net income results in a reduction of $30 in benefits.

How do I apply for food stamps in MN?

Applications for SNAP can be made online at ApplyMN. For some emergency situations, you could get benefits within five working days from the day you file your application.

Minnesota Food Assistance Program (MFAP) #

Minnesota Food Assistance Program (MFAP) is provided to non-citizens who do not receive MFIP benefits, 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.

How do I apply for MFAP in MN?

Apply online through ApplyMN or call the SNAP Hotline at 651-431-4050 in the Twin Cities metro area or 800-657-3698 outside the metro area.

Minnesota Free School Lunch Program #

Minnesota becomes fourth state to offer universal free school meals. The state passed a law that will provide free breakfast and lunch to all students regardless of income.

Before the pandemic, Minnesota students were only eligible for free or reduced breakfasts and lunches if their household income is 130% (free) or 180% (reduced) of the federal poverty guidelines.

Are school lunches still free in Minnesota?

Yes, under the free meals program, lunches and breakfasts would be free to all Minnesota students from kindergarten through 12th grade, regardless of their family's income level.

This ensures that all students have equal access to nutritious school lunches that comply with federal nutrition guidelines.

Minnesota Medical Assistance #

Medical Assistance (MA) is Minnesota’s Medicaid program that provides health care coverage to low-income Minnesotans — children and families, pregnant women, adults without children, seniors and people who are blind or have a disability.

Medical Assistance (MA) does not have a premium (monthly fee). However, members do have small co-pays for some services (cost sharing), usually $1 – $3.

What is the income limit for medical assistance in MN?

As Minnesota is expanding Medicaid coverage, nearly all uninsured Minnesotans age 19-64 with incomes up to 138% of the poverty level may now gain coverage. That's about $34,310 for a family of three.

Minnesota Medicaid 280% 283% 138%
1 $40,820 $41,260 $20,120
2 $55,220 $55,810 $27,210
3 $69,610 $70,350 $34,310
4 $84,000 $84,900 $41,400
5 $98,390 $99,450 $48,490
6 $112,780 $113,990 $55,590
7 $127,180 $128,540 $62,680
8 $141,570 $143,080 $69,770

A 5% disregard based on the federal poverty level (FPL) for the household size is applied and is reflected in the amounts shown above.

If you are pregnant, blind or have a disability, you may have a different income limit. If your income is more than the allowed income limit, you still may qualify using a spenddown.

A spenddown is like an insurance deductible. It is the amount you must pay towards medical bills before the state will start to pay.

How do I apply for Medicaid in Minnesota?

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

MinnesotaCare #

MinnesotaCare is the state’s CHIP program that provides health care coverage for children from families who do not have access to Medicaid.

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

Most families pay a monthly premium based on household size, income and the number of people getting coverage. For children under the age of 21, there is no monthly premium.

What is the income limit for MinnesotaCare?

MinnesotaCare has somewhat higher income limits than Medical Assistance at 288% of the federal poverty level. That's about $71,600 for a family of three.

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $41,990
  • 2 $56,790
  • 3 $71,600
  • 4 $86,400
  • 5 $101,200
  • 6 $116,010
  • 7 $130,810
  • 8 $145,610

A 5% disregard based on the federal poverty level (FPL) for the household size is applied and is reflected in the amounts shown above.

Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) #

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.

Minnesota CCAP has many subprograms to help families including

  1. MFIP Child Care, for parents on MFIP,
  2. Transition Year Child Care, for parents in the first year after leaving MFIP.
  3. Basic Sliding Fee (BSF), for parents who do not qualify for MFIP Child Care or Transition Year Child Care.

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.

What is the income limit for child care assistance in Minnesota?

Families receiving MFIP meet the income limit for CCAP if the family’s income is at or below 67% of the State Median Income (SMI) for their household size at application. All other families qualify at 47% of the State Median Income (SMI) or less.

How do I apply for child care assistance in Minnesota?

Applications for CCAP can be done online at 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.

Minnesota 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 Minnesota families who qualify.

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

  • Family Size Income Limit
  • 1 $2,248
  • 2 $3,040
  • 3 $3,833
  • 4 $4,625
  • 5 $5,418
  • 6 $6,210
  • 7 $7,003
  • 8 $7,795

Families who are already eligible to participate in any of the following programs: Medicaid, MFIP, SNAP, and Energy Assistance are automatically eligible for the WIC Program without proof of income.

How do I apply for WIC in Minnesota?

To apply for WIC benefits, you must visit a WIC clinic near you in person. If you need additional assistance finding a WIC clinic, please call 1-800-942-4030.

Minnesota Energy Assistance Program #

Minnesota's Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps pay home heating costs for low-income households with a direct, one-time payment directly to their heating vendor.

Income eligibility is based on the three most recent months of household income rather than the entire year. For example, a family of three could earn $14,815 in the last three months and still qualify.

Eligible households will receive between $200 to $1,400 of assistance. Those with the lowest incomes and the highest cost for energy will get the most help paying their bills.

How do I claim Minnesota Energy Assistance Program?

EAP service providers include Community Action Programs, counties, tribal governments, and non-profits serve all areas of Minnesota. You need to contact your local EAP service provider to apply.

For help finding your local EAP provider, call

Minnesota Unemployment Insurance #

Minnesota Unemployment Insurance (UI) provides a temporary partial wage replacement to workers in Minnesota who are unemployed through no fault of their own.

In Minnesota, the weekly benefit amount is about 50% of your average weekly wage during a recent 52-week period of time — up to a maximum of $857.

As a condition of eligibility, you are required to actively seek suitable employment each week that you are collecting benefits.

How do I apply for unemployment in Minnesota?

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 651-296-3644
  • Greater Minnesota 877-898-9090

Minnesota State Grant #

Minnesota State Grant is designed to help low and middle income resident students pay for college at eligible Minnesota colleges or universities.

The current maximum award vary from about $6,580 at a public two-year college to $16,645 at a private four-year college.

Who is eligible for MN State Grant?

To be considered for this grant, you must be a Minnesota resident with the requisite level of financial need and be enrolled as undergraduates for at least three credits at one of more than 130 eligible schools in Minnesota.

Undocumented students can apply for a Minnesota State Grant by completing the MN Dream Act application. Deadline is no later than 30 days after the start of the semester for which you are applying.

Minnesota Postsecondary Child Care Grant Program #

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 $5,200 per eligible child per academic year. The amount of the award, however, cannot exceed 40 hours of child care per week per eligible child.

Alliss University Grant #

Adults who are returning to school to start or complete a degree may receive between $350 to $1,100 a year in scholarships to enroll in a bachelor’s program within the Minnesota State University system.

The procedure for selecting recipients varies from campus to campus. Please contact the financial aid office at the university you attend (or plan to attend) for more information.

If this is not your state, please select yours here.
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