Learn About Programs
The programs below help children, adults and families in Minnesota. Click on the program name to learn more about a program. You can also find out if you are eligible for these programs by using the Eligibility Screening Tool (click here).
- Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)
- Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTC)
- What is the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
- Energy Assistance Program (EAP)
- Medical Assistance (MA)
- School Meal Program
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP (formerly Food Support)
- Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
- Working Family Credit (WFC)
The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) helps working parents who have lower incomes pay for child care. CCAP is for families with children under age 13 (and under age 15 for children with special needs). To get CCAP, your income has to be below the limits. Parents also have to work or look for work to get CCAP. All families on MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Program) can get CCAP. Lots of other working parents also get CCAP to help them pay for child care. However, some counties have waiting lists for CCAP, so even if you qualify, you may have to wait to get help.
CCAP is not a free program. All parents have to pay part of the cost of child care each month (a co-payment). CCAP has a sliding fee system — that means families that make more money pay more every month than families who make less money. If you get CCAP, you have to find a child care provider who accepts CCAP. Click here to learn more about the Child Care Assistance Program.
Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTCs) are a part of the federally-enacted Affordable Care Act, which is effective January 2014. The APTCs provide financial assistance to those who are eligible to enable them to purchase insurance through the private non-group market. It is one of the ways that the Affordable Care Act tries to make health insurance more affordable and accessible. Learn more about APTCs.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a set of legislation that was enacted in 2010 to make health insurance coverage more accessible and affordable for all Americans. It attempts to reform the health care system by providing more Americans with affordable quality health insurance and by curbing the growth in health care spending. The ACA is not a new health insurance plan, but rather a set of provisions, rights and benefits that affect the insurance coverage options that we have always had available in this country such as public programs (Medicaid), group coverage (employer sponsored insurance) and private individual market insurance plans.
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a federal tax credit. It is mostly for low-income working parents (or others such as grandparents, relatives or foster parents) raising children. If you get it, you will either pay less on your federal income tax, or get a larger refund (money given back to you). Most people who get the EITC, get a refund. Click here to learn more about the EITC.
The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps people with lower incomes to pay their heating/energy bills during the fall, winter and spring months. EAP agencies around the state take applications for the program and decide how much help each household can get to pay their heating bills. EAP is available to many households with lower incomes, including homeowners and renters. Renters can get help if they pay for their heat separate from their rent, or if their heat is included in their rent but they pay for electricity separately. Click here to learn more about the Energy Assistance Program.
Notice: Effective March 1, 2011 adults with out children who meet the eligibility criteria can receive Medical Assistance.
Medical Assistance is a health insurance program for some Minnesotans with lower incomes. It is Minnesota’s name for Medicaid. It is usually a free program, although there are some small costs (co-pays) for parents. Children up to age 21, parents, pregnant women, people leaving MFIP, adults without children and people who are elderly, blind or disabled can all get Medical Assistance. Medical Assistance looks at every family member individually to see who can get help. Some people in your family may be able to get MA, but others may not. It is easier for children and pregnant women to get MA than childless adults or parents. You have to be a U.S. Citizen or a legal immigrant to get MA, unless you are pregnant. Most people also have to have income below the limits to get MA. Click here to learn more about Medical Assistance
MinnesotaCare is a health insurance program for Minnesotans with lower incomes who cannot get affordable insurance through their job or somewhere else. Implentation of the Affordable Care Act on January 1, 2014 will mean significant changes to MinnesotaCare. The information on this site reflects those changes.
Adults (21 and older) can get MinnesotaCare. It is not a free program. People who get MinnesotaCare pay a reduced-cost premium every month. The amount you pay depends on the number of people in your family, the number of people who are getting health insurance (coverage) and your income. You have to live in Minnesota and have a Social Security Number to get MinnesotaCare. You also have to have income within the limits.
Effective January 1, 2014, the Healthy Minnesota Contribution Program will be eliminated.
The School Meal Program pays for all or part of the cost of meals for children at school (kindergarten through 12th grade). By offering healthy and nutritious meals, the program also helps children to learn and grow. All foster children can get free meals. If your family is getting help from SNAP (formerly Food Support, a.k.a food stamps), MFIP, or FDPIR (Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations), you can get free meals. Otherwise, if you are not on these programs, your family has to have an income below the limits to get help. Some families can get free meals and others can get a reduced (lower) price on their meals. The most you will pay for a reduced-price lunch is 40 cents. Click here to learn more about the School Meal Program.
WIC is a nutrition program that helps eligible pregnant women, new mothers, babies and young children eat well, learn about nutrition, and stay healthy. Click here to learn more about WIC.
The Working Family Credit is a Minnesota state tax credit. It is mostly for low-income working parents (or others such as grandparents, relatives or foster parents) raising children. It is a state version of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Most people who get the EITC also get the WFC. If you get the WFC, you will either get a larger refund (money given back to you) or pay less in state taxes. Most people who get the WFC, get a refund.
Parents (or caregivers) have to be at least 25 years old and under 65 years old to get the WFC. There are also rules about which children count for the WFC. Single adults or couples who are not raising children, but are working can also get a smaller WFC. Lots of people who can get the WFC do not get it, because they do not file their taxes. They miss out on money that is meant for them. Click here to learn more about the WFC.