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Bridge to Benefits: Helping Families Improve Economic Stability by Enrolling in Public Programs. C HILDREN’S D EFENSE F UND M INNESOTA. Children’s Defense Fund. Nonpartisan, nonprofit organization CDF does not seek nor accept any government funds MN is one of 13 state and regional offices

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bridge to benefits helping families improve economic stability by enrolling in public programs
Bridge to Benefits:Helping Families Improve Economic Stability by Enrolling in Public Programs

CHILDREN’S DEFENSE FUND MINNESOTA

children s defense fund
Children’s Defense Fund
  • Nonpartisan, nonprofit organization
    • CDF does not seek nor accept any government funds
    • MN is one of 13 state and regional offices
  • The mission of the Children’s Defense Fund is to Leave No Child Behind and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.
cdf minnesota initiatives
CDF Minnesota Initiatives

Legislative Advocacy:

  • Health Care
  • Child Care
  • Minimum Wage
  • Outreach:
  • Bridge to Benefits
  • Research & Education:
  • MN KIDS COUNT Data Book
what is bridge to benefits
What is Bridge to Benefits?
  • Multi-state project by CDF-MN to improve the well-being of families and individuals by linking them to public work support programs and tax credits
    • Health Care Programs (MinnesotaCare, Medical Assistance, GAMC)
    • Food Support
    • School Meal Program (free/reduced-priced school breakfast & lunch)
    • Energy Assistance Program
    • Child Care Assistance Program
    • WIC Program
    • Tax Credits (EITC and WFC)
  • Relies on an online eligibility screening tool
    • www.bridgetobenefits.org
what is bridge to benefits5
What is Bridge to Benefits?
  • Addresses underutilization of programs
    • Energy Assistance: 70% of eligible households are not enrolled
    • Health Care: 22% of eligible persons are not enrolled in MNCare or MA
    • Child Care Assistance: 76% of eligible children are not enrolled
    • Food Support: 41% of eligible persons are not enrolled
    • School Meal Program: 28% of eligible children are not enrolled
    • WIC: 20% of eligible families are not enrolled
    • EITC & WFC: 18% of eligible households are not claiming
  • Includes work support programs and tax credits that were created to help low-income workers meet basic needs

• Target families making above 100% FPG

5. Helps overcome barriers to participation: lack of awareness, complex application process, literacy, language, transportation, stigma, etc.

bridge to benefits goals
Bridge to Benefits Goals
  • Increase awareness and participation in public work support programs
  • Improve economic stability and well-being of working families
  • Promote healthy child development
  • Help families navigate program rules and discover the easiest way to apply
  • Assist service providers by forming a “network of support,” making sure families are receiving all the help available
  • Strengthen communities by bringing in more federal and state dollars
slide7

Potential Impact

  • At the current participation rate, the EITC lifts 4 million people (including 2.4 million children) out of poverty nationally each year
    • Millions more federal dollars would

flow into the Minnesota economy

(current annual amounts)

      • Energy Assistance = $145 million
      • EITC = $463 million
      • Child Care Assistance = $96 million
      • Food Support = $318 million
      • School Meal = $109 million
      • MinnesotaCare = $127 million
slide8

The Impact on One Family

  • Consider this family of five:
    • 2 working parents
    • 1 child in 1st grade
    • 1 preschooler
    • 1 infant

Their income is $31,000 a year

(125% FPG in 2008)

$7.45 per hour or 90¢ more per hour than 2008 minimum wage

impact on the family s budget
Impact On The Family’s Budget

NOTE: Values are approximated and may vary by family circumstances.

the family budget
The Family Budget
  • This family makes $2,583 each month
  • Without any public programs/tax credits, they are more than $900 short each month trying to cover the costs of child care, health care and their food budget
    • Does not include housing, clothing or transportation costs, much less savings
  • After enrolling in public programs/claiming tax credits, their remaining monthly balance is $2,429
  • An additional $370/month can have positive impacts on children’s cognitive, social and behavioral development
bridge to benefits outreach plan
Bridge to Benefits Outreach Plan
  • Create a screening tool (www.bridgetobenefits.org) to help families determine potential eligibility for work support programs and tax credits.
  • Recruit “Screening Organizations” that work with low-income families to use the screening tool on a regular basis to help clients.
  • Recruit “Application Assistance Organizations” that assist families with applying to public programs and accept email referrals from Screening Organizations.
slide12

2009 Outreach DataJanuary 1 - December 31, 2009

  • 9,029 screens
  • 26,081 family members affected
  • 94% of families screened were potentially eligible for at least one program
  • Families that were eligible and interested in programs:
      • Health Care programs: 74%
      • Energy Assistance Program: 67%
      • Food Support: 46%
      • Child Care Assistance: 32%
      • School Meal Program: 26%
online screening tool
Online Screening Tool
  • A simple and quick tool designed to help families and individuals understand if they are eligible for seven public work support programs and two income tax credits.Screens a variety of family types.
    • Energy Assistance
    • Health Care coverage
      • GAMC
      • Medical Assistance
      • MinnesotaCare
    • Child Care Assistance
    • Food Support
    • School Meals
    • Earned Income Tax Credit
    • Working Family Credit

http://www.bridgetobenefits.org

slide15
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE FUND MINNESOTA

555 Park Street, Suite 410

St. Paul, MN 55103

651-227-6121 www.cdf-mn.org

www.bridgetobenefits.org

Elaine Cunningham, Outreach Directorcunningham@cdf-mn.org / 651-855-1176Ryan Johnson, Outreach Specialistjohnson@cdf-mn.org / 651-855-1175