House bills would increase support for program helping low-income families with children

House bills would increase support for program helping low-income families with children Photo: KSTP/ Ashley Zilka

March 06, 2019 05:51 PM

A package of bills presented in the Minnesota House on Wednesday would provide additional support for a program that serves low-income families with children and pregnant women.

On Wednesday, House DFLers presented the bills in the Health and Human Services committee to provide support for Minnesota's only program that serves low-income families with children and pregnant women, the DFL said in a news release. The proposals would update the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), which helps 91,000 families with children meet their basic needs and find and keep a job every month.

The DFL said the cash portion of MFIP assistance has not been increased since 1986.

On of the bills would increase the transitional standard for families of all sizes by $50 each year through 2022, and by 2 percent each subsequent year (H.F.799). Another would increase general assistance cash grants to account for inflation (H.F. 309). And, H.F.522 would remove some monetary penalties and sanctions when families make simple paperwork mistakes or miss an appointment.

The bills' chief author is Rep. Mary Kunesh-Podein, who said in a statement, "In 1996 I depended on this program to get by, and it simply wasn't enough to cover my costs while I transitioned to work. That was 23 years ago. If it wasn't enough then, it certainly isn't now. This legislation will lift up Minnesota families who are trying to improve their lives by looking for work or going to school."

A separate bill authored by Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL-St. Paul) would increase MFIP grants by $300/month (H.F. 1272). She released a statement saying, "The Minnesota Family Investment Program grants provide an economic lifeline that thousands of Minnesotans rely on. It's a staggering thought that we are marking the 10th anniversary of the legislative commission to end poverty by 2020, and we have yet to make significant progress. The families who depend on these grants cannot afford another session without action." 

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