The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) helps families with children meet their basic needs, while helping parents move to financial stability through work. Parents are expected to work, and are supported in working with both cash and food assistance. Most families have a lifetime limit of 60 months on MFIP.
When families first apply for cash assistance, they usually start in the Diversionary Work Program (DWP). It is a four-month program that helps parents go to work right away rather than enroll in MFIP.
MFIP is for families with children and pregnant women. To qualify, your family must:
Meet an initial income test
Meet an initial asset limit of $2,000
Provide needed verifications.
Asset and vehicle limits
You may own up to $2,000 in assets and qualify for MFIP. Your worker can tell you what property is counted toward the limit.
You also may own a licensed vehicle with a loan value up to $10,000. Any loan value above $10,000 will count toward the asset limit. If you own more than one vehicle, the combined value over $7,500 of all other vehicles will count toward the asset limit.
Most parents with minor children only get cash help for a total of 60 months.
Families get a monthly benefit that includes cash and food assistance. Parents also get help to find and keep a job.
Most people work with a job counselor to create an employment plan. If you are younger than 20 and have not completed high school or any equivalency program, you may need to finish your education. Your job counselor or social worker will help you make a plan to get your high school diploma or go to work.
You may get child care help while you are looking for work, going to school or working.
Cash and food assistance
Cash and food benefits are issued automatically through an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card (DHS-6315) (PDF). Benefits change depending on your income. You are better off working when you are on MFIP. When you get a job, the first $65 you earn does not count. After that, half of the rest of your earnings do not count in deciding the amount of your benefits.
If you are a single parent of two children and are not working and you meet all program requirements, you will get $991 a month in combined cash and food benefits. If you find a full-time job that pays $9 an hour, you will earn $1,548 a month. With that income, you would still receive MFIP food benefits and those benefits plus your earnings would total about $1,900 a month. That is about $1000 more each month than the benefits you get when not working.
If you do not follow all the program rules, you will lose part or all of your assistance.