Lawmakers push increase to family welfare grants

Published 10:25 am Wednesday, March 6, 2013

ST. PAUL — State lawmakers say it’s time to raise grant amounts for Minnesota’s low-income families.

Democratic Sens. Chris Eaton, from Brooklyn Center, and Minneapolis Rep. Susan Allen have bills that would double the monthly grant for the Minnesota Family Investment Program, which has not increased since 1987. The maximum grant for a parent and child is currently $487 per month.

About 100,000 Minnesotans get checks from that program every month, and Minnesota’s Welfare Rights Committee said 70 percent of them are children. The program only gives cash assistance to Minnesotans with children.

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Several lawmakers tried living on $51 for a week — the budgeted amount for one person in a week — to illustrate the need to increase the grants. Eaton and others said that challenge was impossible.