Get public assistance in Hennepin County.

Hennepin County administers several public assistance programs for qualified low income families and individuals. The government may be able to help by providing free food, cash assistance for basic needs, help for medical care and bills, and several other resources.

Priority is often provided to families with children, senior citizens, and the disabled. However if you are faced with a difficult period or an emergency situation, then you should not hesitate to look into the social serves and aid offered by Hennepin County.

The Hennepin County Food Support Program is the state’s version of the federal government funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamp. Interested individuals can apply for Food Support in Hennepin County from a social service office where they live. The food stamp program helps low income and working poor people get the free food and groceries they need for well-balanced meals and sound nutrition. The program issues a debit card to families and they will need to use this card to buy food at local grocery stores.

WIC for Women, Infants & Children can offer aid for mothers and babies. This can be provided in addition to Food Support and SNAP food stamps. WIC can offer mothers, infants, and young children vouchers for food items and groceries that provide supplemental nutrition. Social services can also be offered as well to mothers. The phone numbers to call in each county are Anoka (763) 422-7055, Hennepin (612) 348-6100, Ramsey (651) 266-1300, and Washington (651) 430-6658.

Minnesota Supplemental Aid may be able to provide help to people with disabilities as well as seniors.

Government cash assistance in Hennepin County Minnesota

Cash assistance can be offered to individuals and families who are very low income or who live in poverty in Hennepin County Minnesota. The money will be used to pay for basic living needs. This can include expenses such as rent, heating bills, food, and medications. A number of conditions need to be met by applicants before the county will pay out any funds.





Individuals who do receive public assistance also need to participate in either job training or other types of employment programs, such as the Diversionary Work Program (DWP). This was created to help families find jobs. A number of employment services are administered and they will help low-income families either find a new higher paying job, or get employment if they are currently unemployed. The primary objective is to help move people out of poverty or the low income status, and move them as soon as possible into a work situation. This should help many Hennepin County families from ever having to apply for public assistance from the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP). A qualified low income family can receive a maximum of four months of DWP cash benefits per year, and only up to 60 months over their lifetime.

The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) can also help Hennepin County family’s transition to economic stability, and it can provide social services as well as public cash assistance. When families either first apply to DWP, or after they finish four months of the Diversionary Work Program, at that time they may be referred to the Minnesota Family Investment public program and then they can apply for additional financial assistance.

MFIP may be able to help lower income and working poor family’s transition to economic stability by providing a government subsidized cash benefit to a family's monthly income. These funds can help with paying for groceries and providing food support, child care costs, employment services, and can also pay for health care coverage. The financial assistance in Hennepin County can pay for medical coverage and bills for family members while they receive MFIP. Assistance can even be offered for up to one year after MFIP is closed. The government programs can also offer help with paying for child care costs as well, even after someone is off of public assistance.

Job training, assessment, and planning services may be offered from the Food Support Employment and Training Program. This government resource may be able help able-bodied adults who do not have dependents. The focus is on those Hennepin County and Minneapolis individuals who are between the ages of 18 and 50 and who do not receive other cash assistance or government aid.

Hennepin County Emergency Assistance Program (HCEAP) was created to assist families when there is an immediate threat to the safety or health of the family’s child. The county program provides financial assistance and social services to families with minor children, and the funds can be used to pay a number of bills. Aid is offered if the family is in the midst of a financial crisis that poses a direct threat to the physical safety or health of a child. HCEAP provides short-term cash assistance for one or more of the following. Services include transportation for homeless families, rental assistance, free foreclosure prevention, damage deposit, funds for utility bills, emergency shelter, home repairs, moving expenses, and money for special diets. These programs may also be able to provide short-term assistance for people and families in a crisis such as fire, accident or illness, flood, utility shut-off, eviction, those who need food, or people faced with foreclosure.





The Work Benefit Program (WB) can help families, if they are employed, after they exit the Minnesota MFIP or DWP. This resource provides up to $25.00 in monthly cash as an incentive to employed families. The public aid is paid out for a maximum of 24 consecutive months. Cash payments begin only after the Hennepin County family has finished the Diversionary Work Program or the Minnesota Family Investment Program.

Hennepin County General Assistance helps single adults, so this may be able to help families or individuals that do not have children. Apply for cash assistance for single adults. The state and government funded General Assistance program provides public assistance for single adults and people who are ages 18 to 64, who cannot support themselves due to some form of emergency and only if it is documented.

Health Care Programs

Access information about public health care payment programs available through Hennepin County. For example, medical bill assistance or free health care is offered. The social service office can also provide information or referrals to free or sliding fee mental health clinics.

Medical Assistance is a federal government funded assistance program that helps pay for the medical bills and health care of Hennepin County families. Applicants need to meet specific income, property guidelines, and assets. Medical assistance is offered to Hennepin County individuals who meet one or more of the following. Applicants need to be under 21 year of age or age 65 years or older, Pregnant, Disabled, Blind, Adults 21-64 years of age without children, not Medicare eligible, or they need to be parents or caregivers of a child under 19 years old.

MinnesotaCare is available across the state. It is a low-cost public health insurance program that is state-subsidized. It may be able to help pay for basic health care bills, such as dental, medical, or preventative care. Assistance is offered for uninsured residents of Hennepin County who meet specific guidelines, including income. Most applicants will need to still pay a monthly premium for this public insurance program.

Emergency Medical Assistance is offered for people who do not meet immigration or state residency. Government aid is offered for people who are faced with medical emergencies, and aid is offered for those who otherwise are not eligible for medical insurance or coverage.

If you apply for and qualify for one of these federal government or state of Minnesota health care programs, then you may be able to get help with paying for the monthly premiums for a health maintenance organization (HMO). You will get to choose the HMO in Hennepin County.




Transportation is offered by the Minnesota Non-emergency Transportation, or (MNET). It can help people get to doctor appointments for people on medical assistance per above It can also offer transportation to some pregnant women and their children if they are on MinnesotaCare and if they have no other transportation assistance available to them.

The state also offers services for people with developmental disabilities and seniors. Both can help people live in their communities as independently as possible.

Social services can be received in Hennepin County and Minneapolis by dialing 612-348-3000.


By Jon McNamara

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