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Bridging Benefits: Your pathway to stability

What is Bridging Benefits?

In 2017, Minnesota’s departments of Human Services and Corrections began working together to assess public assistance and health insurance eligibility for people identified as having a high risk of returning to prison. The work began with 11 counties, and in 2022, expanded statewide serving all Minnesota counties.

Statistics show participation in Bridging Benefits reduces a person’s likelihood of returning to prison or experiencing homelessness.

How it helps

The Department of Corrections (DOC) and Department of Human Services (DHS) work together to help you access public assistance benefits.

A DHS worker can help smooth out the process of applying for programs such as food benefits, cash programs, housing support and emergency assistance benefits.

A DHS worker can also help answer questions and resolve issues after your case is transferred to the county or a Tribal Nation office.

How it works

DOC staff identify incarcerated people who have the highest need for benefits, support and coordination. DOC staff then assist individuals with completing a Combined Application form and send to DHS staff prior to their release. DHS staff may conduct an interview and determine eligibility for programs prior to release. DHS staff assist in obtaining Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards so participants are able to access benefits immediately upon release.

By reentering the community with public assistance benefits in place, participants’ risk of returning to prison is reduced due to improved well-being and stability.

Programs it determines eligibility for

Bridging Benefits helps determine eligibility for the following programs:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)
  • General Assistance
  • Health care
  • Minnesota Supplemental Assistance
  • Housing Support (formerly GRH)
  • Emergency Assistance

Benefits possibly available to you

SNAP — The maximum help with food assistance is $281. Time-limited SNAP recipients are eligible for three months of SNAP in a 36-month time period. Ask your worker what qualifies as an exemption or for an extension.

General Assistance (GA) — A cash program for single adults or some married couples that helps Minnesotans with little or no income meet their basic needs. It offers a small monthly cash grant to people with serious illnesses, disabilities or other circumstances that limit their ability to work.

Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) — A cash program for families with children or pregnant women who have low incomes.

Minnesota Supplemental Assistance (MSA) — This is a cash program for people receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Housing Support — This is a state-funded income supplement program that pays for room and board costs for adults with low incomes who are placed in a licensed or provider-controlled setting. County human service agencies negotiate monthly rates.

Emergency Assistance or Emergency General Assistance (EA or EGA) — This is a cash program for families or adults with low incomes experiencing a household emergency. Emergencies include individuals or families lacking basic needs such as housing. You must have not used the program within last 12 months, and you must use your own money first before EA/EGA can resolve the crisis.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about the program or questions about your case, please email:

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