State provides easy application for human services programs with MNbenefits
November 5, 2021
A new accessible, easy-to-use online application for nine public assistance programs launches in early November, with statewide adoption anticipated by early 2022.
A 16-county pilot of MNbenefits showed that Minnesota Department of Human Services clients can complete an application in MNbenefits in as little as 12 minutes. The average time to complete the existing online application is 60 minutes.
Another key feature is the ability to simultaneously apply to all nine programs: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Emergency Assistance, Housing Support, Child Care Assistance, Diversionary Work Program, General Assistance, Minnesota Family Investment Program, Minnesota Supplemental Aid and Refugee Cash Assistance.
“The last thing Minnesotans facing life’s challenges need is a cumbersome, bureaucratic process to navigate,” said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “MNbenefits will help people in need get the important services they are eligible for more quickly.”
MNbenefits is the result of an innovative partnership between DHS, Minnesota IT Services, counties, tribal nations and development partner Code for America.
“MNbenefits steamlines how Minnesotans engage with multiple programs across the state,” said Minnesota IT Services Commissioner Tarek Tomes. “Because of strong collaboration and focus on the user experience, MNbenefits gives Minnesotans an incredibly solid foundation to engage with state government as One Minnesota, rather than a collection of different departments.”
The mobile-friendly application works across all browsers, computers, laptops and phones and is available in Spanish, with more languages to come. It’s easy to upload documents, and no account login is necessary, which is a common barrier to access. The new interface also creates efficiencies for DHS, county and tribal nation staff, boosting capacity to provide more timely service and a better client experience.
Pilot counties include Anoka, Carver, Clay, Cook, Dodge, Hennepin, Morrison, Olmstead, Otter Tail, Sherburne, Steele, St. Louis, Wabasha, Waseca, Wadena and Wright counties. The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwa was added to the pilot in September 2021 and the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians and White Earth Nation will be added soon.