Asset Limit Reform: Removing Barriers to Promote Self-Sufficiency

January 1, 2011

February 3, 2010

Asset Tests Cost the State Money and Keep Families from Achieving Self-Sufficiency

The Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota highlights the need for asset limit reform in public work support programs in a recent issue brief entitled Asset Limit Reform: Removing Barriers to Promote Self-Sufficiency

Asset tests are currently used with income to determine eligibility for some public work support programs like food support, health care coverage, and energy assistance. While asset tests were first developed to ensure only those who truly need assistance would receive it, they create a barrier to access for families, discourage savings, and cost the state millions of dollars each year in test administration.

Right now at the legislature there is a bill (HF 453) that would eliminate the $7,000 asset test for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) also known as Minnesota’s food support program.

Because SNAP is a federally funded program, Minnesota has nothing to gain but the $172 million each year in federal funding it is currently missing out on by not fully utilizing the program. These necessary funds could be used to stimulate the state and local economy, while feeding hungry Minnesotans.

Due to barriers like asset tests, approximately 368,000 eligible Minnesotans are not enrolled in food support. By eliminating the test, HF 453 would increase access to food for approximately 70,000 more Minnesotans.

This brief is part of a larger paper exploring barriers to access in public work support programs that CDF-MN released in April, 2010: Public Work Support Programs: Addressing Barriers to Increase Access 

Other asset test resources:  Star Tribune