COVID-19 Resources

Resources and Supports for Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota shares the concerns of Minnesota families as we face this crisis created by COVID-19. The federal and state government along with the non-profit and business communities are working together to bring additional resources and supports to children and families as quickly as possible. We recognize that not only is this a pubilic health crisis but it is also a financial crisis for many familes as their job situations and security changes. Information is being updated daily as new resources and guidelines are made available. To help communicate this ever-evolving body of information to the public, CDF-MN will begin using the Bridge to Benefits website as a Bulletin Board to list resources and supports to help Minnesota families through the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, as families face employment changes and financial challenges brought on by this crisis, Bridge to Benefits can still be used to help assess eligibility for a wide array of public programs such as SNAP, Medical Assistance, Child Care Assistance, Energy Assistance, Early Learning Scholarships, School Meals and WIC. Click Start at left to begin a screen to see if you may be eligible for any or all of these programs. To learn more about resources and supports offered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, click on one of the issue areas below:
  1. Emergency Modifications to Public Programs
  2. Financial Resources
  3. Child Care
  4. Health Care
  5. Nutrition
Emergency Modifications to Public Programs

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has issued the following modifications to public programs to help Minnesotans during the COVID-19 emergency. These modifications will remain in effect for the duration of the emergency or for other lengths of time if specified  For more information, visit COVID-19

Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare:

Current enrollees will retain benefits for this quarter without reapplying

Quarterly reassessments of services for older adults and people with disabilities will be done on the phone instead of in-person.

SNAP:

Current enrollees will continue to receive benefits without the usual renewal process

For new enrollees, a simplified enrollment process will be created to allow enrollment and interviews over the phone or internet.

Work requirements will be waived for certain SNAP participants.

MFIP, General Assistance, Minnesota Supplement Assistance and GRH:

Current enrollees will continue to receive benefits without the usual renewal process

For new enrollees, a simplified enrollment process will be created to allow enrollment, assessments and interviews to be conducted over the phone or internet and waiving certain verification processes.

Certain sanctions for MFIP and DWP will be waived so that participants will NOT be sanctioned or disqualified from receiving benefits for failing to attend meetings, submit paperwork or comply with other specific requirements.

Mental Health Services:

A range of mental health services will be conducted on the phone instead of in-person.

Child Care Assistance Program:

The limits on absent days will be lifted.

 

 

 

 

Financial Resources

Unemployment Insurance

If your employment has been affected by COVID-19, you can apply for unemployment benefits. Steps have been taken to make the application process a little simpler for those affected. For example: the nonpayable "waiting" week has been waived and changes have been made to the requirements pertaining to looking for suitable employment.You are encouraged to find additional information online at UIMN.org as the wait to get your questions answered by phone will be lengthy. You can access the online application here.

MFIP, General Assistance, Minnesota Supplement Assistance and GRH:

The following modifications have been made to program rules:

Current enrollees will continue to receive benefits without the usual renewal process

For new enrollees, a simplified enrollment process will be created to allow enrollment, assessments and interviews to be conducted over the phone or internet and waiving certain verification processes.

Certain sanctions for MFIP and DWP will be waived so that participants will NOT be sanctioned or disqualified from receiving benefits for failing to attend meetings, submit paperwork or comply with other specific requirements.

For more information visit the Minnesota Department of Human Services website.

Tax Information

The date for filing taxes has been moved from April 15 to July 15, 2020. Many free tax sites are suspending face to face tax preparation assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. If you would like to file online, go to the Minnesota Department of Revenue site for free filing options.

Paid Family Leave Updates

Paid family leave to employees in small and midsize businesses will be available shortly according to provisions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed on March 18. The act allows small and midsize employers to take advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits that are designed to immediately and fully reimburse them for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief will provide employees with paid leave, either for their own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus. The key take-a-way is:

Paid Sick Leave for Workers
For COVID-19 related reasons, employees receive up to 80 hours of paid sick leave (for caring for themselves or family members) and expanded paid child care leave when employees’ children’s schools are closed or child care providers are unavailable.

For more details, visit the Department of Labor website

 

Child Care

Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP):

The limits on absent days will be lifted.

Child Care Openings and Advice for Child Care Providers

As of today, child care centers are allowed to remain open. Centers are asked to provide the Department of Human Services (DHS) with a list of openings and to give priority to children of emergency personnel for those openings. DHS has also issued a number of program waivers and modifications that apply to child care providers. For more details on this information, please visit the DHS website.

DHS is operating a Child Care hotline to answer questions for families and providers at 1-888-234-1268.

Health Care

Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare:

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has issued the following modifications to public health care programs to help Minnesotans during the COVID-19 emergency. These modifications will remain in effect for the duration of the emergency or for other lengths of time if specified. For more information, visit COVID-19.

Current health program enrollees will retain benefits for this quarter without reapplying

Quarterly reassessments of services for older adults and people with disabilities will be done on the phone instead of in-person.

A range of mental health services will be conducted on the phone instead of in-person.

MNsure Updates:

MNSure is offering a special enrollment period for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance in response to the potential growth of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. This special enrollment period runs Monday, March 23 through Tuesday, April 21.

To see if you qualify CLICK HERE.

If you purchased your insurance on the MNSure site, COVID-19 diagnostic testing is available at no cost. All four health care insurance companies that sell private health insurance plans on MNsure are waiving co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles related to the coronavirus disease. Learn more.

Latest Information on COVID-19

The MInnesota Department of Health is providing a COVID-19 hotline to answer questions about the virus. The hotline is open from 7 am to 7 pm. Call 651-201-3920.

 

 

Nutrition

SNAP:

Current enrollees will continue to receive benefits without the usual renewal process

For new enrollees, a simplified enrollment process will be created to allow enrollment and interviews over the phone or internet.

Work requirements will be waived for certain SNAP participants.

WIC:

Many WIC clinics will be closed due to COVID-19. However, staff will be available by phone or by internet. To simplify procedures, WIC has made the following modifications:

Height/weight/hemoglobin measurements will be deferred for 90 days at the time of certification (for new enrollees) or at recertification (for current enrollees).

Phone certifications will replace in-person appointments for new enrollees.

During the pandemic, WIC participants are not required to return formula.

Some modifications have been made for providing proof of income for those who have been laid off and have no income.

For more information, contact your local WIC office.

School Meal Program:

Schools may continue to serve school meals to students during the COVID-19 school closure period with a non-congregate dining option. Many schools have implemented school meal distribution plans. Check with your school or school district for more information. 

Links to information on how Minneapolis, St. Paul and Richfield school districts are delivering school meals are listed below. Other links will be added as received. 

Minneapolis Public Schools Meals During School Closure LINK HERE

St. Paul Public Schools Meals During School Closure  LINK HERE

Richfield Public Schools Meals During School Closure LINK HERE

Food Shelves:

Many food shelves throughout Minnesota have continued to operate during the COVID-19 crisis. CLICK HERE to find a food shelve near you.

Restaurants:

Several Minnesota restaurants are serving free meals to children K-12 and to others. For a list of restaurants, CLICK HERE and then click Free Meals for Kids and select Restaurants.

General Information:

Hunger Solutions offers the statewide Minnesota Food HelpLine to help you find food resources for your family. Call 1-888-234-1268.