COVID-19 Resources

Resources and Supports for Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota shares the concerns of Minnesota families as we face this crisis created by COVID-19. The federal and state government along with the non-profit and business communities are working together to bring additional resources and supports to children and families as quickly as possible. We recognize that not only is this a public health crisis, but it is also a financial crisis for many families as their job situations and security changes. Information is being updated daily as new resources and guidelines are made available. See below for information about Emergency Modifications to Public Programs, Financial, Child Care, Health and Nutrition resources as well as the Child Tax Credit (CTC). To learn more about resources and supports offered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, click on one of the issue areas below:

In addition, as families face employment changes and financial challenges brought on by this crisis, Bridge to Benefits can still be used to help assess eligibility for a wide array of public programs such as SNAP, Medical Assistance, Child Care Assistance, Energy Assistance, Early Learning Scholarships, School Meals and WIC. Click Start at left to begin a screen to see if you may be eligible for any or all of these programs. 

 

 

  1. Child Tax Credit (CTC)
  2. Emergency Modifications to Public Programs
  3. Financial Resources
  4. Nutrition
  5. Health Care
  6. Child Care
Child Tax Credit (CTC)

Non-Tax Filers, Claim Your Child Tax Credit Now

If you have not received your Child Tax Credit (CTC) because you are not required to file a tax return and have not given your information to the IRS, a simplified tax filing portal called GetCTC has been developed to help you get your payment (to learn more about the payments, see below under Emergency Modifications to Public Programs – Expanded Child Tax Credit).

GetCTC is an online, mobile friendly tool that enables families that do no file tax returns to claim their CTC as well as any of the federal stimulus payments that may have been missed because of their non-filing status.

When you visit GetCTC, you will be able to complete a simplified non-filer tax return form and send it to the IRS. In order to receive your CTC refund in this calendar year, you must submit your non-filer tax return by the November 15th, 2021 deadline. Non-filers who do not file by November 15th, will have to wait to complete their forms during the tax season in 2022 before receiving their payments.

Note to non-citizens: Non-citizens are eligible to claim the Expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) if they have  qualifying children within the age range who have social security numbers (see below under Emergency Modifications to Public Programs – Expanded Child Tax Credit for information on qualifying children). In order to file for qualifying children, non-citizen parents must have an ITN number. The CTC is not considered a public charge program, so claiming a CTC for your qualifying children will not affect your ability to become a U.S. citizen. 

Advanced Monthly Automatic Child Tax Credit Payments began on July 15th 2021

The first advance monthly automatic payments for the expanded Child Tax Credit were issued to families on July 15th.

To qualify for advance Child Tax Credit payments, you — and your spouse, if you filed a joint return — must have:

  • Filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return and claimed the Child Tax Credit on the return; or
  • Given the IRS information in 2020 to receive the Economic Impact Payment using the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool;
  • Lived in the United States for more than half the year (the 50 states and the District of Columbia) or file a joint return with a spouse who lived in the United States for more than half the year; and
  • A qualifying child who is under age 18 at the end of 2021 and who has a valid Social Security number.

Click here to determine your eligibility for CTC advance payments.

Eligible families, visit the IRS’ Manage Advance Payments tool to:

  • Check if you’re enrolled to receive advance payments
  • Unenroll to stop getting advance payments
  • Provide or update your bank account information for monthly payments starting with the August payment

If you are not require to file a tax return and have not given your information to the IRS, go to the Non Filer Sign Up Tool to submit your information to the IRS in order to receive the Child Tax Credit.

See below for more information on the Expanded Child Tax Credit. 

 

Expanded Child Tax Credit 

The American Rescue Plan made a significant, one-year expansion to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for 2021. The changes include:

  1. Benefit amounts have been increased from $2,000 per child to $3,600 per child for kids under 6 and $3,000 per child for kids 6-17.
  2. Other dependents including children aged 18 and full-time college students ages 19-24 can be claimed for a nonrefundable credit of up to $500 each.
  3. The amount of the increased CTC begins to phase out at $150,000 combined annual income for married taxpayers, $112,500 for heads of household, and $75,000 for all other taxpayers.
  4. An advanced payment option has been created so families can receive periodic checks, likely starting after July 1 through December 2021.

Filers with Social Security and ITINs are eligible for CTC as long as the qualified child/dependent(s) has a social security number. Children/dependents without social security numbers are not eligible for CTC. 

Advanced CTC Payments will be automatic for eligible families who file their taxes by May 17th, 2021. Eligible families with children – including non-filers – are strongly encouraged to file their tax return as soon as possible to access advanced CTC and other tax credits.The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will provide more information about Advanced CTC payments here

 Low income and non-filers household can still file their taxes after the May 17th, 2021 deadline. For assistance with filing your taxes visit IRS Free File ProgramPrepare and Prosper, or State of Minnesota Free Tax Preparation site. File as soon as possible to have access to advanced CTC payments

Emergency Modifications to Public Programs

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has issued the following modifications to public programs to help Minnesotans during the COVID-19 emergency. These modifications will remain in effect for the duration of the emergency or for other lengths of time if specified  For more information, visit COVID-19

Non-Tax Filers, Claim Your Child Tax Credit Now

If you have not received your Child Tax Credit (CTC) because you are not required to file a tax return and have not given your information to the IRS, a simplified tax filing portal called GetCTC has been developed to help you get your payment (to learn more about the payments, see below under Emergency Modifications to Public Programs – Expanded Child Tax Credit).

GetCTC is an online, mobile friendly tool that enables families that do no file tax returns to claim their CTC as well as any of the federal stimulus payments that may have been missed because of their non-filing status.

When you visit GetCTC, you will be able to complete a simplified non-filer tax return form and send it to the IRS. In order to receive your CTC refund in this calendar year, you must submit your non-filer tax return by the November 15th, 2021 deadline. Non-filers who do not file by November 15th, will have to wait to complete their forms during the tax season in 2022 before receiving their payments.

Note to non-citizens: Non-citizens are eligible to claim the Expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) if they have  qualifying children within the age range who have social security numbers (see below under Emergency Modifications to Public Programs – Expanded Child Tax Credit for information on qualifying children). In order to file for qualifying children, non-citizen parents must have an ITN number. The CTC is not considered a public charge program, so claiming a CTC for your qualifying children will not affect your ability to become a U.S. citizen. 

Advanced Monthly Automatic Child Tax Credit Payments began on July 15th 2021

The first advance monthly automatic payments for the expanded Child Tax Credit were issued to families on July 15th.

To qualify for advance Child Tax Credit payments, you — and your spouse, if you filed a joint return — must have:

  • Filed a 2019 or 2020 tax return and claimed the Child Tax Credit on the return; or
  • Given the IRS information in 2020 to receive the Economic Impact Payment using the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool;
  • Lived in the United States for more than half the year (the 50 states and the District of Columbia) or file a joint return with a spouse who lived in the United States for more than half the year; and
  • A qualifying child who is under age 18 at the end of 2021 and who has a valid Social Security number.

Click here to determine your eligibility for CTC advance payments.

Eligible families, visit the IRS’ Manage Advance Payments tool to:

  • Check if you’re enrolled to receive advance payments
  • Unenroll to stop getting advance payments
  • Provide or update your bank account information for monthly payments starting with the August payment

If you are not required to file a tax return and have not given your information to the IRS, go to the Non Filer Sign Up Tool to submit your information to the IRS in order to receive the Child Tax Credit.

See below for more information on the Expanded Child Tax Credit. 

Expanded Child Tax Credit 

The American Rescue Plan made a significant, one-year expansion to the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for 2021. The changes include:

  1. Benefit amounts have been increased from $2,000 per child to $3,600 per child for kids under 6 and $3,000 per child for kids 6-17.
  2. Other dependents including children aged 18 and full-time college students ages 19-24 can be claimed for a nonrefundable credit of up to $500 each.
  3. The amount of the increased CTC begins to phase out at $150,000 combined annual income for married taxpayers, $112,500 for heads of household, and $75,000 for all other taxpayers.
  4. An advanced payment option has been created so families can receive periodic checks, likely starting after July 1 through December 2021.

Filers with Social Security and ITINs are eligible for CTC as long as the qualified child/dependent(s) has a social security number. Children/dependents without social security numbers are not eligible for CTC. 

Advanced CTC Payments will be automatic for eligible families who file their taxes by May 17th, 2021. Eligible families with children – including non-filers – are strongly encouraged to file their tax return as soon as possible to access advanced CTC and other tax credits.The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will provide more information about Advanced CTC payments here

 Low income and non-filers household can still file their taxes after the May 17th, 2021 deadline. For assistance with filing your taxes visit IRS Free File Program, Prepare and Prosper, or State of Minnesota Free Tax Preparation site. File as soon as possible to have access to advanced CTC payments. 

Pandemic-EBT Program Expanded for 2020/2021 School Year 

Congress has authorized Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) for the 2020-2021 school year for children in grades kindergarten through 12. Families currently receiving SNAP, MFIP or Tribal TANF benefits, or whose children are already approved by their school to receive free or reduced-price school meals need not take any action. They will automatically receive P-EBT benefits.

P-EBT provides monetized food benefits for children who are not receiving the free or reduced-price school meals that they normally would because their school is using a distance- or hybrid-learning format. The monetized school meal benefit will be added to a existing or new EBT card. To be eligible for this round of P-EBT, your child must be receiving benefits from at least one of the following programs:

  • Free or reduced priced school meals for the current school year
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • Minnesota Family Investment Program
  • Tribal TANF

Families eligible but not enrolled in any one of the programs listed above must apply to enroll now in order to receive P-EBT benefits.

For more information on P-EBT click here For assistance, call Hunger Solutions 1 -888-711-1151 or Second Harvest Heartland 1-844-764-5513. 

Conduct a quick Bridge to Benefits screening to determine eligibility for SNAP or the School Meal Program.

Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare:

Current enrollees will retain benefits for this quarter without reapplying

Quarterly reassessments of services for older adults and people with disabilities will be done on the phone instead of in-person.

The prescription drug limits on maintenance medications for certain therapeutic drug classes have been increased from 34 days to 90 days for all Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare enrollees. 

SNAP:

Online Grocery Shopping Allowed: SNAP participants can now use their EBT cards to more safely purchase groceries online starting May 28, 2020. For now, Walmart and Amazon are the only online retailers that have been approved for SNAP purchases in Minnesota. However, more retailers are being encouraged to seek federal approval to allow Minnesota SNAP participants more options. For more informations, click here.

Mental Health Services:

A range of mental health services will be conducted on the phone instead of in-person.

 

 

 

Financial Resources

 

Non-Tax Filers, Claim Your Child Tax Credit Now

If you have not received your Child Tax Credit (CTC) because you are not required to file a tax return and have not given your information to the IRS, a simplified tax filing portal called GetCTC has been developed to help you get your payment (to learn more about the payments, see below under Emergency Modifications to Public Programs – Expanded Child Tax Credit).

GetCTC is an online, mobile friendly tool that enables families that do no file tax returns to claim their CTC as well as any of the federal stimulus payments that may have been missed because of their non-filing status.

When you visit GetCTC, you will be able to complete a simplified non-filer tax return form and send it to the IRS. In order to receive your CTC refund in this calendar year, you must submit your non-filer tax return by the November 15th, 2021 deadline. Non-filers who do not file by November 15th, will have to wait to complete their forms during the tax season in 2022 before receiving their payments.

Note to non-citizens: Non-citizens are eligible to claim the Expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) if they have  qualifying children within the age range who have social security numbers (see below under Emergency Modifications to Public Programs – Expanded Child Tax Credit for information on qualifying children). In order to file for qualifying children, non-citizen parents must have an ITN number. The CTC is not considered a public charge program, so claiming a CTC for your qualifying children will not affect your ability to become a U.S. citizen.

The Eviction Moratorium ended on June 29th, 2021

The Eviction Moratorium which paused eviction actions and lease terminations at the height of the COVID 19 pandemic ended on Tuesday June 29th, 2021. If you are at risk of eviction, RentHelpMN is now open and accepting applications for eligible Minnesotans. Find more information on RentHelpMN below.

A landlord may not file or proceed with a filed eviction action for nonpayment of rent against a household with a pending application with a COVID emergency rental assistance program. If your application is still pending, you are protected from eviction actions for nonpayment of rent through June 2022

Apply for rental assistance through RentHelpMN as soon as possible, to avoid evicition. 

RentHelpMN is Now Open and Accepting Applications

The COVID 19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will help eligible renters with overdue rent and utilities bill dated on or after March 13th, 2020 (starting with April 1st rent). Qualified families or individuals could receive up to 15 months total assistance

To qualify to receive COVID 19 Rental Assistance you must:

  • Be a renter.
  • Make 80% or less of the area median income in 2020 or in the most recent month.

Landlords can also apply on behalf of their eligible tenants.

To apply or learn more, visit RentHelpMN.org or call 211. The 211 helpline has multilingual staff available to answer questions about RentHelpMN, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Unemployment Insurance for Minnesotans

If your employment has been affected by COVID-19, you can apply for unemployment benefits. Steps have been taken to make the application process a little simpler for those affected. For example: the nonpayable "waiting" week has been waived and changes have been made to the requirements pertaining to looking for suitable employment.You are encouraged to find additional information online at UIMN.org as the wait to get your questions answered by phone will be lengthy. You can access the online application here.

Free Internet

To support distance learning during school closures, Comcast is opening its Xfinity Wi-Fi Network for free nationwide to help connect low-income families. For more information, contact your local Comcast/Xfinity provider.

Emergency Assistance

Minnesota residents who are experiencing a financial crisis that poses a direct threat to their physical health or safety, may be able to get short-term financial aid through their county human services office. The county may provide assistance with emergency temporary shelter; housing costs such as rent payments, damage deposits, home repairs or utility bills; foreclosure prevention; and extra food support for people on special diets. Both families with children and adults without children may qualify. Contact your local county human services office for more information.

 

Nutrition

 WIC Modifications

Many WIC clinics will be closed due to COVID-19. However, staff will be available by phone or by internet. To simplify procedures, WIC has made the following modifications:

Height/weight/hemoglobin measurements will be deferred for 90 days at the time of certification (for new enrollees) or at recertification (for current enrollees).

Phone certifications will replace in-person appointments for new enrollees.

During the pandemic, WIC participants are not required to return formula.

Some modifications have been made for providing proof of income for those who have been laid off and have no income.

To contact your local WIC Program, call 1-800-942-4030 or click here

 

Pandemic-EBT Program Expanded for 2020/2021 School Year 

Congress has authorized Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) for the 2020-2021 school year for children in grades kindergarten through 12. Families currently receiving SNAP, MFIP or Tribal TANF benefits, or whose children are already approved by their school to receive free or reduced-price school meals need not take any action. They will automatically receive P-EBT benefits.

P-EBT provides monetized food benefits for children who are not receiving the free or reduced-price school meals that they normally would because their school is using a distance- or hybrid-learning format. The monetized school meal benefit will be added to a existing or new EBT card. To be eligible for this round of P-EBT, your child must be receiving benefits from at least one of the following programs:

  • Free or reduced priced school meals for the current school year
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • Minnesota Family Investment Program
  • Tribal TANF

Families eligible but not enrolled in any one of the programs listed above must apply to enroll now in order to receive P-EBT benefits.

For more information on P-EBT click here For assistance, call Hunger Solutions 1 -888-711-1151 or Second Harvest Heartland 1-844-764-5513. 

Conduct a quick Bridge to Benefits screening to determine eligibility for SNAP or the School Meal Program.

School Meal Program:

Schools may continue to serve school meals to students during the COVID-19 school closure period with a non-congregate dining option. Many schools have implemented school meal distribution plans. Check with your school or school district for more information. 

Links to information on how Minneapolis school distric is delivering school meals are listed below. Other links will be added as received. 

Minneapolis Public Schools Meals During School Closure LINK HERE

Food Shelves:

Many food shelves throughout Minnesota have continued to operate during the COVID-19 crisis and recently received additional fund from the State of Minnesota to replenish their shelves. CLICK HERE to find a food shelf near you.

Restaurants:

Several Minnesota restaurants are serving free meals to children K-12 and to others. For a list of restaurants, CLICK HERE and then click Free Meals for Kids and select Restaurants.

General Information:

Hunger Solutions offers the statewide Minnesota Food HelpLine to help you find food resources for your family. Call 1-888-234-1268.

 

Health Care

Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare Modifications

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has issued the following modifications to public health care programs to help Minnesotans during the COVID-19 emergency. These modifications will remain in effect for the duration of the emergency or for other lengths of time if specified. For more information, visit COVID-19.

Current health program enrollees will retain benefits for this quarter without reapplying.

The prescription drug limits on maintenance medications for certain therapeutic drug classes have been increased from 34 to 90 days for all Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare enrollees.

Quarterly reassessments of services for older adults and people with disabilities will be done on the phone instead of in-person.

A range of mental health services will be conducted on the phone instead of in-person.

Insurance Companies Waive Fees for Coronavirus Treatments

If you purchased your insurance on the MNsure site, COVID-19 diagnostic testing is available at no cost. All four health care insurance companies that sell private health insurance plans on MNsure are waiving co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles related to the coronavirus disease. Learn more.

In addition to those companies that sell insurance through MNSure, other insurance providers are also protecting enrolleees from out-of-pocket costs associated with coronavirus treatments. Cigna, Humana and Aetna have all announced that they will waive fees for some of the costs related to the coronavirus for their enrollees. For more information on which costs are waived, check with your insurance provider.

Latest Information on COVID-19

The MInnesota Department of Health (MDH) is providing a COVID-19 hotline to answer questions about the virus. The hotline is open from 7 am to 7 pm. Call 651-201-3920.

MDH also publishes a list of the clinics in Minnesota that are doing COVID-19 testing. In addition to the names and locations of the clinics, the list includes information that you may need to know before you go to get tested. Click here to see the list.

 

Mental Health Services

State agencies and private organizations in Minnesota are working together to ensure that mental health services are availalble to those who need them including children, youth and adults. Services include telemedicine to replace clinic visits and other well-being supports to help families cope. Mental health services are available here.  In addition, some important emergency Hotlines are listed below:

* National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

* Crisis Text Line Text “MN” to 741741

* Minnesota Mobile Mental Health Crisis Line Call: **CRISIS (**274747). For landlines, see the directory for mental health crisis phone numbers in Minnesota by county.

 

FREE Dental Care for Children 

FREE dental care for children will be available February 5-6, 2021 thanks to thousands of participating dental professionals and clinics throughout Minnesota. 

FREE dental care for children will be available February 5-6, 2021 thanks to thousands of participating dental professionals and clinics throughout Minnesota. Read more.

Give Kids a Smile, is a free dental event sponsored by the Minnesota Dental Association and the Minnesota Dental Foundation. It will be held on Friday and Saturday, February 5 and 6, 2021. During these two days, dental clinics across the state will offer free dental appointments for kids (typically ages 3-18) who face barriers to accessing dental care. There are no eligibility requirements to participate.

Many counties in Minnesota have free dental appointments available through the Give Kids a Smile event. To find a clinic near you and to find out how to schedule an appointment, follow this link to the Minnesota Dental Association website or call United Way 2-1-1.

 

Child Care

Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) Modifications:

The limits on absent days will be lifted.

Redetermination due dates have been extended by three months for CCAP cases with redeterminations due on or before June 30, 2020.

Child Care Openings and Advice for Child Care Providers

As of today, child care centers are encouraged to remain open. However, many have closed due to decreased enrollment, financial strain or public health needs. Those that remain open are being asked to provide the Department of Human Services (DHS) with a list of openings and to give priority to children of emergency personnel for those openings. If you need child care, especially if you qualify as emergency personnel, you can call the Child Care Aware parent line at 1-888-291-9811 for a list of openings. Child care providers will charge tuition that varies in accordance with their program policies and business practices. If you need financial assistance, you may apply for Child Care Assistance and Early Learning Scholarships. You can use the Bridge to Benefits Screening tool to see if you are eligible.

School districts and charter schools are being directed to provide care to enrolled students age 12 and under who are children of critical workers at no cost. 

DHS has also issued a number of program waivers and modifications that apply to child care providers. For more details on this information, please visit the DHS website.

Childcare Hotline

DHS is operating a Child Care hotline to answer questions for families and providers at 1-888-234-1268.

Hennepin County Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) waitlist 

Hennepin County currently has it's waitlist opened to only parents unders the age of 21 who need a highschool diploma or GED. All others are added to the waitlist

Families in need of child care assistance that are not currently on the waitlist are encouraged to contact Hennepin County at 612-348-5937 to be added. They need only complete a short phone screen to qualify for the waitlist. When their name comes up for enrollment, they will be required to complete the full application. Families interested in CCAP can complete the Bridge to Benefits screening tool on this website to see if they are potentially eligible for the CCAP program.