Cash assistance

Hennepin County offers a number of programs to supplement families' and individuals' incomes. The type of assistance people receive depends on their life circumstances, family size and type, and other factors. We can help you find the program that works best for you.

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Apply for cash assistance

Fill out an application

Be aware that your benefits will not start until your paperwork is received and processed. Depending on the program for which you are applying, a face-to-face or phone interview may be required before your application can be processed.

Print one of the forms below. You may also call 612-596-1300 to have a form mailed to you.

Combined application form

ApplyMN

You can bring the completed form to one of our offices, fill it out there, or mail it to the address on the form. If you visit one of our two offices listed below, limited drop-in child care is available while you are completing your business in our offices.

Century Plaza Family Service Center

330 South 12th Street, Minneapolis 

Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday

Northwest Family Service Center

7051 Brooklyn Boulevard, Brooklyn Center

Hours: Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

VEAP Community Service Center

9600 Aldrich Avenue South, Bloomington

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Get help applying

You may have someone else apply for you. To do this, you must write a letter identifying that person as an "authorized representative" who has permission to complete the process on your behalf. If you are in the hospital or homebound, call our office for assistance.

Find an interpreter

Available languages vary by office location. If we do not have the appropriate interpreter onsite, we will phone an interpretive language line for assistance. Please call 612-596-1300 to let us know two days in advance if you need American Sign Language interpreter services for the hard-of-hearing.

Get the right help

Applicants or clients who do not agree with an action taken on their cases have the right to appeal. A Hennepin County human services representative can help file the appeal forms.

If you ask for the appeal promptly, you can continue to receive assistance while waiting for the appeal to be heard. However, if you lose the appeal, you must pay back any assistance received during that time.

You may bring an attorney, advocate, friend, or relative to the appeal hearing. The State of Minnesota will send a written decision to you after the hearing. Contact the Hennepin County appeals office at 612-348-2550 or 612-348-8852, or the Minnesota Department of Human Services appeals office at 651-431-3600.

Assistance for adults without children

The general assistance program provides cash benefits for single adults, ages 18 to 64, who cannot support themselves. Participants must have lived in Minnesota for at least 30 days, be unable to work for at least 45 days, have little or no income or other resources, do not currently receive Supplemental Security Income, and do not have a minor, dependent child living in the household.

Eligibility

Those who can apply for general assistance must be

  • Older than 55
  • Temporarily or permanently ill
  • Unemployable
  • Learning-disabled
  • Medically certified as having developmental disabilities or mental illness
  • Needed in the home to care for another person
  • Performing court-ordered services
  • Living in group residential housing
  • Displaced homemakers
  • Residents of battered women's shelters and group residential housing
  • Students who are older than 18, learning English at the high school level
  • Youth who are younger than 18 and not living with parent, step-parent, or legal guardian
  • People who have applied for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration

Acceptable personal assets

Applicants may have all of the following assets and still qualify:

  • As much as $1,000 worth of personal property
  • As much as $1,500 value in a motor vehicle
  • A homestead (the residence in which you live)

Emergency programs

Emergency general assistance may provide assistance once a year for eligible individuals or families who are in a crisis situation. Emergency help may be provided for past-due rent or mortgage, utility bills, moving expenses, transportation costs, vital home repairs, appliance replacement or repair.

Assistance for families

Diversionary work program

We offer cash support and other resources to low-income families for as long as four months to help them actively look for jobs. The goal of the diversionary work program is to stabilize incomes so families do not need to apply for broader benefits from the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP).

Participants work with a job counselor to develop an employment plan before benefits can be issued. In a two-parent family, both must participate, and each family member must have a social security number or an application for one.

Participants may also be eligible for other programs, including food support, health care programs, child care assistance and child support.

Enrollment in the diversionary work program generally is required before participation in the Minnesota Family Investment program, with the following exceptions:

  • Child-only cases
  • A one-parent family that includes an infant younger than 12 weeks (this is a one-time exception)
  • A minor caregiver without a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • A caregiver who is older than 60, or a caregiver 18 or 19 years old without a high school diploma or its equivalent, who chooses to have an employment plan with an education option
  • A family with a parent who already has received diversionary work program or Minnesota Family Investment Program benefits within the past 12 months

The amount of each family's cash grant depends on the number of people in the family, monthly household needs, personal needs allowance, and countable income. Applicants must provide verification of expenses including phone, rent/mortgage, and utilities. 

Once a grant amount has been determined, increases in income generally will not decrease the benefit, if the initial benefit amount was based on the best information available at the time. These benefits do not count toward the MFIP 60-month lifetime limit.

Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)

We help families by providing a cash income supplement, helping with food support, child care costs, health care coverage, and employment services. The goal is to reduce long-term public assistance use and to encourage personal responsibility.

Families may be referred when they first apply for assistance or after they finish four months of the diversionary work program. It can take up to 30 days to process an MFIP application. Benefits are limited to 60 months.

MFIP supports work. The program provides help with child care costs and medical coverage, in some cases as long as a year after the family transitions out of the program. Income-earning families also may receive additional incentives.

MFIP encourages personal responsibility. For most participants, program expectations include developing an employment plan with an employment services counselor. Failure to cooperate with program requirements can result in sanctions. The program has 60-month lifetime limit.

Household asset limits

Your county worker will help you to calculate your assets to determine whether you are eligible for aid or not.

  • $2,000 for applicants/$5,000 for participants
  • A vehicle with a loan value of $7,000 or less
  • A homestead
  • Burial accounts
  • Life insurance

Work benefit program

Once a family has completed the Minnesota Family Investment Program or the diversionary work program, and is employed, the work benefit program provides a $25 cash monthly incentive for as long as 24 consecutive months.

Assistance for refugees

Refugee cash assistance is administered by metropolitan area resettlement agencies. To apply for assistance, refugees should contact the agencies that resettled them. It is available for immigrants' first eight months in the United States. When that period ends, they may apply for other assistance programs.

Eligibility

Refugees are defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). These include people who have been

  • Admitted as refugees under Section 207, or
  • Paroled as refugee or asylee under Section 212(d)(5), or
  • Granted asylum under Section 208, or
  • Cuban and Haitian entrants, or
  • Admitted as Amerasian under Amerasian Homecoming Act, or
  • Victims of trafficking certified by the Office of Refugee Resettlement

Applicants also must be

  • Single adults 18 years or older, or
  • Married couples without children, or
  • Pregnant women and their spouses, until they meet eligibility requirements for the Minnesota Family Investment Program, or
  • Adults who are disabled or older than 65, until they are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Requirements

Participants who are disabled or 65 years or older are required to apply for Supplemental Security Income.

Health care assistance for refugees

Refugees receiving benefits are automatically eligible for refugee medical assistance if they are not already eligible for Medical Assistance (MA).

Assured Access provides a list of clinics that charge for medical services on a sliding fee scale.

Discounted health care

Assistance for seniors and people with disabilities

Minnesota supplemental aid provides cash assistance to individuals who are over 18 and have been certified blind or disabled by the Social Security Administration, or singles and couples who are 65 years or older.

People who are blind or disabled must also be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or retired survivors disability insurance, or they must be certified as totally and permanently disabled by the State Medical Review Team.

Minnesota supplemental aid may be added to federal Supplemental Security Income to meet the personal needs of eligible people living independently.

Eligible recipients who move into licensed facilities for the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or for people with other disabilities may also be eligible to have monthly facility costs paid by the group residential housing program.

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