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November 19, 2010
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Children's Defense Fund (CDF)-Minnesota re-released its report, Public Work Support Programs Updated 11 2010, which documents barriers families face when trying to access public work support programs. The report evaluated Child Care Assistance, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP), Food Supports (SNAP), and Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) in five mid-western states.
The report is now updated to account for changes that occurred during the 2010 legislative sessions in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. Improvements noted in the report include eliminating asset limits and increasing eligibility in both Minnesota and Iowa for the food assistance program (aka, SNAP benefits). Also in North Dakota, an online application system was implemented for public work support programs so that families do not have to go into the local social service office to apply. This eliminates many barriers like transportation, office hours, and multiple application forms.
Jim Koppel, CDF-MN Director responded to the report stating, “In these uncertain times, when many families find themselves struggling for the first time due to layoffs or reduced incomes, we must do everything we can to ensure they receive the support they need to maintain economic stability.”