News from DHS for January 2022

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News from DHS archive

In this issue:

Human services benefits in Governor’s Budget to Move Minnesota Forward

Over the past two weeks, Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan rolled out their Budget to Move Minnesota Forward, including significant investments in human services.

The budget would invest in health care, child care, education, and public safety while cutting taxes for the middle class, working families, and small businesses. The proposed budget would reduce costs and grow our economy while protecting the health and safety of Minnesotans and ensuring every child receives a high-quality education, no matter their race or zip code.

Details for the Budget to Move Minnesota Forward (PDF) are online.

MNbenefits online application replaces ApplyMN

The recently launched MNbenefits online public assistance application will completely replace the ApplyMN online application starting Tuesday, Feb. 1.

MNbenefits is a fast, accessible, easy-to-use application for nine public assistance programs: food support (SNAP), emergency assistance, child care assistance, housing support and five cash assistance programs.

Users can complete an application in less than 20 minutes, compared to about 60 minutes for the ApplyMN application.

MNbenefits is currently available in English and Spanish, with more languages to come.

There is no change to paper applications or MNsure, the site used to apply online for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare.

State invests $61 million to boost dental reimbursement rates, improve access

child at dentist appointment

Minnesota is taking a major step toward addressing significant and longstanding gaps in dental care by raising state payment rates for dentists.

DHS increased the base reimbursement rate on Jan. 1 as part of a $61 million dental package aimed at removing barriers that keep dentists from taking patients covered by Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare.

DHS also is adding coverage of non-surgical treatment for periodontal disease, the leading cause of adult tooth loss.

Part of Minnesota’s COVID-19 Recovery Budget signed into law by Governor Tim Walz last year, the dental reforms include funding to raise reimbursement rates and implement other changes over the next four years.

Low-income Minnesotans with Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare are more likely to have dental disease than Minnesotans with employer-sponsored insurance, and they also have a harder time getting dental care. For example, over 60% of Minnesota children living in poverty did not see a dentist in 2019.

“Our goal is to create more options for Minnesotans who need dental care,” said Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “By supporting dentists with fair rates, this investment will make it easier for people in public health care programs to get the dental care that’s so important to their daily lives and overall well-being. The strong support and tireless work of our legislative committee chairs in both the House and Senate made this change possible.”

Managed care rates for dental care will have to at least match DHS’ fee-for-service rates. With the new rate structure, health plans will also have to meet benchmarks to ensure that more people in public health care programs receive dental care.

More details are in the department’s news release.

In social media

DCT Feb. 2, 2022 hiring event

Posted Jan. 25 on the DHS Careers Facebook page

We’re looking for individuals dedicated to the caring professions to join our team in a variety of treatment facilities. We are currently hiring in the Twin Cities metro area for the following positions:

  • Registered and Licensed Practical Nurses
  • Direct Care providers
  • Mental Health professionals, including Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors

Apply now to take advantage of rare hiring bonuses, pensions and other benefits that come with a state employee career.

To see more job opportunities with our Direct Care and Treatment team, please visit

Follow our DHS Careers Facebook page for announcements of hiring events, new job postings, internships and more.

For timely updates on other DHS news and events, follow DHS on Twitter and Facebook.

Accessible formats

For accessible formats of this publication, write to, or call 651-431-2000 or use your preferred relay service.

Grants help older Minnesotans stay independent

A new round of state grants will support older Minnesotans to maintain their health, independence and community involvement while living in their own homes.

DHS will distribute almost $4 million in Live Well at Home grants in 2022. Funding will go to 42 organizations across the state for projects such as: 

  • Outreach and support for older adults of all cultures, including those who speak Spanish, in Watonwan County
  • A supportive housing development in downtown Duluth that could end homelessness for residents age 65 and older
  • White Earth Nation’s first housing development to include supportive services for American Indian elders experiencing homelessness

“Our goal is to empower aging Minnesotans to stay in their homes longer,” said Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “Being able to live well at home for as long as possible leads to better outcomes for both older Minnesotans and their communities.”

More highlights of this year's grants are listed in the department's news release.

Age & Disabilities Odyssey Conference to be virtual this year

The Age & Disabilities Odyssey Conference will be virtual again this year with two free webinars in late spring/early summer.

Although we looked forward to coming together this summer, we decided to cancel the in-person event. The consistently high number of COVID-19 cases in the community pose too many uncertainties.

Stay tuned for webinar details to come. Sign up for email updates at

The conference is hosted in partnership with the Minnesota Board on Aging.

newspaper beside a coffee cup

In the news

MN looking to fill more than 40,000 healthcare vacanciesThere are more than 40,000 healthcare vacancies in the state. So now more than even, health care and long-term caregiving fields are in need of workers. Assistant Commissioner Dan Pollock told KIMT News 3 that the department is taking down barriers to apply and make it as easy as possible.

AmeriCorps members needed to support Afghan refugees in MinnesotaServeMinnesota, in partnership with DHS, is launching a Refugee Response Initiative to support Afghanistan evacuees headed to Minnesota. The program is hiring about 40 people to join AmeriCorps to help evacuees get settled in the state. A story from FOX 9 highlights the program and explains how people can join in the effort.

DHS fact sheets updated

Child care assistance: Facts and figures (PDF)

Diversionary Work Program: Emphasizing employment (PDF)

Facts about Minnesota Family Investment Program (PDF)

Housing Support (PDF)

Minnesota Supplemental Aid (PDF)