Assistance Programs in Minnesota

The state of Minnesota has a population of 5.5 million with a poverty rate of 11.5%, with a poverty rate in children at 14.5%. There are approximately 600 000 people in the state of Minnesota living in a state of poverty, struggling with basic expenses and bills, having a difficult time providing for their family. Fortunately, there are numerous assistance programs available throughout the state of Minnesota for the low income single parents, families and individuals. This guide will list and explain all the assistance programs available in the state of Minnesota.

Financial Assistance in Minnesota

Many single parents and families struggle with their basic expenses and bills making it difficult to provide the necessities for their family. There are a few programs that can provide financial assistance in Minnesota.

Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)

The Minnesota MFIP program assists low income single parents and families in a couple of different ways. The program provides temporary financial relief to help low income families with their expenses, allowing them to provide for their families. The program also provides job training and education to for parents to help them find better employment with higher rate of pay.

To be eligible for this program you must be of low income and be a resident of Minnesota. To learn more about the MFIP program and to apply check out the Minnesota MFIP webpage.

Minnesota Unemployment Insurance (UI)

Minnesota UI provides financial payments to those who have lost their job/employment through no fault of their own. You will receive payments on a weekly/biweekly basis, and the payments are based on the amounts you made with your most previous employer. To learn more and to apply check out the Minnesota UI program webpage.

Food Assistance in Minnesota

No one should have to struggle providing adequate food for their children and families. If you are of low income you can qualify for a food assistance program in Minnesota.

Minnesota Food Assistance Assistance Program (MFAP)

The Minnesota MFAAP program provides the low income with financial assistance with their food costs, enabling them to better provide their family with nutritious food. The food benefits are received on a card called a Minnesota EBT card which works just like a debit card. Once you are ready to check out with your groceries, simply swipe your EBT card and you are set to go. Each month the Minnesota EBT card is reloaded with additional funds.

The amount you will receive on your EBT card each month depends on your household income in relation to the number of people living in your household. During the application process you will have to fill out an application form and participate in an interview. To learn more check out the Minnesota MFAP webpage.

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

The Minnesota WIC program provides free nutritious, supplemental foods, nutrition education and even health care referrals to pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding women and their children up to age 5. The program also provides information on nutrition during pregnancy and referrals to social services for children.

In order to be eligible for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To apply for this program you must contact the WIC office nearest your location of the state. You can use this Minnesota WIC locator to find the WIC office in your area. To learn more about WIC check out the Minnesota WIC webpage.

Minnesota School Breakfast and Lunch Program

The Minnesota School Breakfast and Lunch Program provides either free or very low costs breakfasts’ and lunches to children of low income families while they are attending school. To qualify for this program you must meet the income requirements. If you are receiving food benefits under the MFAP program, your child will automatically be eligible for this program. You must contact the school that your child attends to apply for this program. To learn more about this program check out the Minnesota School Nutrition website.

Medical Assistance in Minnesota

Medical costs are simply to expensive for anybody if they do not have any sort of health insurance plan. The state of Minnesota has a good Medicaid program for adults and children who are of low income.

Minnesota Medicaid

Minnesota Medicaid provides free health care services to low income families across the state of Minnesota. It covers the cost of a variety of health related expenses such as:

  • doctor’s visits
  • prescription drugs
  • lab tests and X-rays ordered by doctors
  • hospital care
  • eye care
  • vaccinations
  • treatments
  • dental care

Depending on you and your family’s specific situation, not all services will necessarily be covered, or some services might require you to cover a portion of the costs, depending on the service. Medicaid eligibility is based on your annual income compared to the amount of people living in your household. To learn more about Medicaid in Minnesota and to apply check out the Minnesota Medicaid webpage.

MinnesotaCare S-CHIP Program

The MinnesotaCare S-CHIP program is primarily the same as Medicaid, except it is for children. This program offers all the same free health care services listed above. This program requires families to pay a monthly premium based on their income and family size. The premiums can range anywhere from $4 to $30 per month.

In order to be eligible for this program you must have a child under the age of 19 living in your household, or be the primary caregiver of a child, and be considered low income. The income levels required for you child to receive CHIP are lower making it easier to qualify. To learn more about the MinnesotaCare program check out the MinnesotaCare webpage.

Child Care Assistance in Minnesota

Child care costs are very expensive which place a financial burden on parents across the state. Some parents are unable to provide the qualify child care their children need, while some parents even have to stay home to care for their child. Fortunately there are some child care assistance programs available.

Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program

The Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program provides assistance to low income single parents and families by paying for a portion child care costs. The program allows for parents to pay using a sliding payment fee. The program also helps parents locate quality, yet affordable child care services. To receive this assistance you must be of low income. Check out the Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program website to learn more and to apply.

Minnesota Head Start Program

The Minnesota Head Start Program provides child card services to low income single parents and families across Minnesota. The program provides a solid learning environment for children from ages 0-5 to prepare them for school. To qualify for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To learn more and to apply check out the Minnesota Head Start program website.

Housing Assistance in Minnesota

Housing and rental costs can make things very difficult for low income single parents and families. Fortunately there are some useful rental and housing assistance programs available in Minnesota.

Minnesota Low Income Public Housing Program

The Minnesota Low Income Public Housing Program provides low income single parents and families with reduced rent payments in living areas owned by local Housing Agencies (HAs). These living areas are usually apartments, however they can also be single standing houses and condos. The local housing agencies will provide funds to the low income families or single parents safe and sanitary housing with rent payments that they can afford to pay.

To begin the application process, you must go through your local Housing Agency. This list of Minnesota Public Housing Agencies provides an in depth list of all the Housing Agencies located across Minnesota. Once you find the Housing Agency in your area, you can contact them to find out the specific income guidelines required, as well as any details or questions you might have about the program.

Minnesota Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Minnesota Housing Choice Voucher Program provides also provides rental assistance to low income single parents and families by providing families with ‘vouchers’ that will allow them to only have to pay a portion of their rent costs. With this program you are allowed to choose your own living place to use the reduced rent vouchers. This program provides direct payments to your landlord, which pays a good portion of your rent payment with you paying the remaining portion of the rent. Many times you will only have to pay 30% to 40% of your total rent payment if you are of very low income.

This program is also managed by the local Housing Agencies which will guide you throughout the entire process. Again, you can use this list on Minnesota Housing Agencies to help you locate the agency in your area of the state.

Minnesota Energy Assistance Program (EAP)

The Minnesota EAP program provides provides financial relief to Minnesota residents by paying a portion of their energy bills, primarily helping with heating and cooling bills. This program will even provide direct payment to your energy supplier on your behalf. To qualify for this program you must be of low income, meeting the income requirements. To learn more and to apply for the program, check out the Minnesota EAP webpage.

Minnesota Weatherization Program (WAP)

The Minnesota WAP program uses a variety of energy conservation practices to help make your home more energy efficient. This will allow your home to consume less energy which will result in lower energy bills, saving you money. This program will also repair furnaces and A/C units and more. To qualify for this program you must meet the income requirements. To learn more about this program and to apply check out the Minnesota WAP webpage.

Minnesota First Time Home Buyer Programs

The state of Minnesota has a variety of first time home buyer programs that will help with down payments, provide assistance with closing costs, and help you locate the best mortgages and interest rates available. This Minnesota First Time Home Buyer Resource will list all the programs available. Some of the programs available are shown below:

Minnesota Housing Start Up Program

This program helps in a areas of a mortgage such as closing costs, affordable interest rates, and down payment assistance.

Minnesota Housing Step Up Program

This program provides a loan that can be used to help purchase a home, or help homeowners with refinancing.

Transportation Assistance in Minnesota

Transportation costs can be very expensive, especially for those who do not own a vehicle and have to take public transpiration or cabs on a daily basis. Thera are a few things that can be done to assist in these costs.

Minnesota Access Transportation Services (ATS)

You can receive free transportation to any doctors appointments, tests, and medical treatments you might have. There are a variety of these programs available that receive funding from the state of Minnesota. This program is available to anyone receiving Medicaid or the MinnesotaCare program. To learn more and how to contact this service, visit the Minnesota ATS service webpage.


Taxis fares can be quit expensive when used on a daily basis. A cheaper alternative to finding daily rides can be found by using Uber or Lyft. These driving services will take you where you need to go, as ordinary people will pick you up and take you to your designation in their own vehicle, thus allowing for cheaper fares which save you a good amount of money.

Legal Assistance in Minnesota

Legal assistance can be very expensive, making it difficult for the low income to receive the legal help they might really need. Fortunately you can find legal assistance throughout the state.

Minnesota Law Help Organization

The Minnesota Law Help Organization provides a database of discounted or free legal services available throughout the state in a variety of different area. Many services provided helps with issues such as, domestic violence, immigration issues, employment issues, evictions, family law and much more. To qualify for the free advice, you have to be below a certain income level, which varies depending on who is providing the assistance. Check out the Minnesota Law Help website to learn more.

Remember there is always help out there for you when tough times hit. If you are of low income there are many programs such as the ones in this guide that are made specifically for the low income.

Links and Resources

Find Local State Assistance Financial Help Programs for Single Mothers

Click on any one of the states below on the map (or via the table) to go to our local state assistance guide for that specific state