What is MFIP?

The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)  is Minnesota’s welfare-to-work program. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, “MFIP provides job counseling and financial assistance to low-income families with minor children, and to low-income pregnant women.”

Who is enrolled in MFIP?

  • 71 percent of MFIP enrollees are children
  • About one-third of the 69,000 children are 5 years old or younger
  • Only families with children or low-income pregnant women are eligible to receive MFIP.

How long can a family enroll in MFIP?

There is a 60 month lifetime limit with few exceptions.

How much assistance does a family receive?

A family of  three, with no other income, receives $532 per month in financial assistance plus $437 in food support.  That adds up to $1,005, less than two-thirds of the poverty level for a family of three.

How does MFIP contribute to homelessness?

Both MFIP, and low-wage work, make it extremely difficult for families to afford rent. Wages and assistance levels have not kept pace with rent, work expenses, and basic living costs. Most homeless Minnesotans are children, youth, and families.

Fact Sheets

  • History of MFIP (PDF)
  • MFIP Fact Sheet  (PDF) – Feb. 2013
  • Welfare in Minnesota: Facts and Figures (PDF) – Jan. 2013

Source: Minnesota Department of Human Services


In 1996 the federal government ended the 65-year-old Aid to Families with Dependent Children launched during the Depression and established a block grant to the states, Temporary Assistance to Needy Children.  States were told to use the block grant to refashion their cash assistance programs with a new focus on work.  Minnesota responded by creating the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP).

In the 1990s with a seven-county pilot version of MFIP, Minnesota proved that it would be possible to construct a welfare to work program that helped families move out of poverty.  But we have abandoned much of what worked in the years since.

Getting welfare policy right matters. More than 70,000 of the state’s poorest children rely on MFIP and when their families can move out of poverty, their lives stabilize, their performance in school improves and their futures open.

Resource: History of MFIP (PDF)


2013 Legislative Wrap Up: Affirmative Options for Families

Improvements to the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) will be implemented incrementally.

2014: MFIP Earned Income Disregard increased to 50 percent (effectively changing the exit level from 115  to 140 percent of the federal poverty guideline). Impact: Raise assistance by $30/month for 6,200 working families in poverty.

2015: Housing allowance added; family cap repealed (newborn baby penalty). Impact: $110/month increase for approximately 17,800 families; family cap repeal will raise assistance by $74/month for approximately 4,100 families.

2015-2017: $2M for paid work experience; $250,000 for work study slots; $2M for racial disparities project; $200,000 for home visiting for MFIP teen parents; $1.5 million in bonus funds for counties with good MFIP outcomes.

Download: Legislative Wrap Up 2013

2013 Public Testimony in Support of Family Cap Repeal

In 2012, the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless merged with the Affirmative Options Coalition. The alignment has strengthened the capacity of each organization to advance policy solutions related to housing, welfare, and low-wage work.


Academic Studies

“The Changing Landscape for Homeless People and Service Providers,” Professor Joe Soss, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. Keynote presentation at 2012 Annual Conference. (PDF)


Related Media

TANF Child Care in 2012: How low can it go? Stephanie Schmit & Hannah Matthews, CLASP, August 20, 2013

‘People think everyone who is poor gets welfare, that’s just not true,’ How the Myth of the Welfare Queen Died, Allison Linn, NBC News, August 20 2013

Temporary jobs becoming permanent part of American economy, MPR News July 12, 2013

The Expendables: How the temps who power corporate giants are getting crushed, Michael Grabell, ProPublica, June 28, 2013


Fact Sheets

History of MFIP (PDF)

MFIP Fact Sheet  (PDF) – Feb. 2013

Welfare in Minnesota: Facts and Figures (PDF) – Jan. 2013