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Limited English proficiency in Minnesota


Minnesota's population is rapidly changing and growing. Many recent arrivals are new Americans who will face linguistic and cultural barriers as they work to become self-sufficient.

The Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Program at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) helps provide spoken and written language assistance services to individuals whose limited English skills prevent them from accessing health and human services.


In the mid-1990s DHS began a series of initiatives to improve access to services for those with limited English proficiency. The initiatives, which were consistent with federal and state directives, resulted in LEP Plans for DHS and each county. These plans, developed in response to state and county human services' legal obligation to provide language assistance, outline approaches and services to provide meaningful access for all program applicants and recipients to programs and services. For more information on the plans and other limited English proficiency requirements, see the revised OCR guidance.

Related programs and services

Links to other Internet sites related to LEP issues are presented here only as a service to DHS staff and website visitors. DHS makes no claims on the accuracy and value of vendors and or other services offered by sites that appear as links on this page.

LEP Plans

Multilingual Referral Line services

The Multilingual Referral Line (MRL) services (currently maintained in DHS’ 15 primary non-English languages) are owned by DHS and operated by contracted vendors. Clients with LEP can reach an operator who speaks their language (live or voicemail) to be referred to the appropriate state or county human services provider. There is no cost to clients with LEP to use these lines.

The MRL numbers appear on the Language Block (LB) within DHS documents or they are printed on “stuffers” that accompany other information that state and county human service providers mail to clients. In some cases, DHS documents contain an LB stuffer symbol that indicates to human services providers that the LB stuffer should be given out with the document. See the LB section for more information.

Note that the MRL are not an interpreting service. They exist to help clients with LEP access the appropriate county or state human services provider. 

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