Work Support Programs

Work support programs help Minnesota's working families with children.

Work support programs like SNAP, School Meal, WIC, Medicaid, Child Care Assistance, and Energy Assistance were created by federal and state lawmakers to help families fill the gap between low wages and a basic needs budget because they recognized that minimum wage jobs do not provide adequate resources to meet even the most bare bones of budgets. Work support programs were designed to encourage workforce participation. Research shows that children in households that are economically stable experience improvements in educational, behavioral and health outcomes. Historically, Minnesota has exceeded the minimum federal standards set for these programs in an effort to improve economic stability and childhood outcomes. However, these programs come under scrutiny in nearly every legislative session. Also, the programs are administered separately and often don’t work together to provide a smooth pathway to self-sufficiency.

Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota supports strengthening programs by:

  • simplifying and aligning eligibility criteria across programs to make it easier for eligible families to enroll; 
  • enacting the options allowed under federal requirements to expand eligibility and benefits levels; and 
  • supporting outreach and application assistance to improve program awareness and enrollment.