Bridge to Benefits
Frequently Asked Questions
Read below to learn more about the rules and guidelines for the public work support programs on Bridge to Benefits. Click on a question below to find the answer.


  1. What are assets?
  2. Which programs count assets?
  3. What if I don't have any children? Will I still qualify for any of these programs?
  4. What if I am pregnant? Does this change my eligibility for any programs?
  5. How does North Dakota residency affect my eligibility for these programs?
  6. How does my immigration status affect my eligibility for these programs?
  7. Who is an eligible caregiver for the Child Care Assistance Program?
  8. What if all eligible caregivers in my household are NOT employed the minimum amount each month? Can I still get Child Care Asisstance Program?
  9. Can I get the money from my EITC before tax season?
  10. Will receiving money from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) affect my eligibility for other programs?
  11. If I have or can get health insurance through my employer or another source, will I still qualify for public health insurance?
  12. Is there a waiting list for any programs on this site?

1. What are assets?
Assets are items of value that you or your family own including cash on hand, money in a checking or savings account or an Individual Retirement Account, and stocks and bonds. Each program looks at assets differently--see Frequently Asked Question #4.

2. Which programs count assets?
Child Care Assistance Programs:
Child Care Assistance Programs do not look at assets.

EITC:
Investment income must be $3,100 or less for Tax Year 2009.

LIHEAP: The asset limit is $10,000 per household and another $5,000 for each household member age 60 and above.

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program):
Household resources must be less than $2,000 ($3,250 for households that include a member age 60 or over or a disabled household member).  Households in which all members are receiving TANF, tribal TANF, or SSI are not subject to an asset limit.

Medicaid:
For regular Medicaid, total countable assets must be at or below $2,000 for an individual, or $3,000 for a married couple.  For Medicaid for children 1-19 total countable resources must be at or below $15,000. 

Energy Assistance Program:
EAP does not look at assets.

School Meal Program:
The School Meal Program does not look at assets.

Children’s Health Insurance Program:

The Children’s Health Insurance Program does not look at assets, though the application will ask for this information to see if the child[children] will qualify for North Dakota Medicaid.

 

3. What if I don't have any children? Will I still qualify for any of these programs?
Yes. Adults without children in the household are eligible for SNAP, Energy Assistance (LIEAP), the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and maybe North Dakota Medicaid.

Adults without children are NOT eligible for the School Meal Program, Child Care Assistance Programs, or Medical Assistance in most cases. However, if you are 19 or 20 years old, you may still qualify for Medical Assistance--see Frequently Asked Question #2 for income limits.

4. What if I am pregnant? Does this change my eligibility for any programs?
Income limits and many resources/asset limits do NOT apply or are higher for pregnant women when applying for health care programs. If you are pregnant and do not have health insurance, contact your county worker to see if you might qualify for Medicaid. To enroll, you will have to provide a letter from a doctor verifying that you are pregnant. Your application should be processed within 15 days of applying. 

See Question 2 (above) for more information about the income limits for pregnant women. Remember when counting family size for health care programs that a pregnant woman carrying one child equals two people. A pregnant women carrying twins would equal three people.

5. How does North Dakota residency affect my eligibility for these programs?
Child Care Assistance Programs:
Your family must live in North Dakota before you can receive assistance.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
There are no North Dakota residency requirements for the EITC. However, you must have lived in the U.S. the entire tax year to claim the EITC.

Energy Assistance:
You must be a resident of the county in which you are applying for assistance.

SNAP:
You do not need to be a North Dakota resident to apply. However, we recommend that you apply in the county you live in.

Medicaid:
You must plan to stay in North Dakota. 

School Meal Program:
North Dakota residency is not required if your child is enrolled in school.

Children's Health Insurance Program:
North Dakota residency is not required.

 

6. How does my immigration status affect my eligibility for these programs?
Using Bridge to Benefits will NOT affect your immigration status. Each program has different guidelines about immigration status, as explained below.        

Child Care Assistance Program:

Children for whom you are applying for BBCC scholarships must be U.S. citizens or have acceptable immigration status. Parents or other caregivers do not have to be U.S. citizens or have acceptable immigration status but they do need to provide a social security number, proof of identity, and residence.

Earned Income Tax Credit:

You must either be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident who has lived in the U.S. for the entire calendar year for which you are filing taxes. The taxpayer, spouse and any qualifying children must all have valid Social Security Numbers that authorize work.

Energy Assistance:

You do not need to provide proof of U.S. citizenship or immigration status. You will be asked to provide Social Security Numbers on the application. However, you only need to provide a Social Security Number for one primary household member/applicant.

SNAP:

You must have a Social Security Number (or must have applied for one) to apply and receive benefits. Applications can be filled out only for household members who provide Social Security Numbers, however all household members will have to provide income and asset information.

Medicaid:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or have an acceptable immigration status.
  • You do not have to show proof if you are getting Medicare benefits or getting or previously received Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

School Meal Program:

A parent's or child's immigration status does not matter as long as the child is enrolled in school.

Children's Health Insurance Program:

Must be a US Citizen or qualified alien.

7. Who is an eligible caregiver for the Child Care Assistance Program?
Eligible caregivers include:

  • The mother or father of the child
  • An adult who is not the parent, but married to either the mother or father
  • A legal guardian and his/her spouse
  • Unmarried parents living in the same household with a child in common

If an adult is living with one of the child’s parents but not married to that parent, he or she is NOT an eligible caregiver. Grandparents, boyfriends and girlfriends as well as other adult relatives who do not have a parental relationship with the child needing care are also NOT eligible caregivers.

If you have questions about who is an eligible caregiver within your household, contact a county worker from the Early Childhood Services Bureau.

8. What if all eligible caregivers in my household are NOT employed the minimum amount each month? Can I still get Child Care Asisstance Program?
If all eligible caregivers in your household are not employed the minimum each month or participating in Food Support Employment and Training activities (FSET), your family may not be eligible for child care assistance.  Contact your county worker to discuss exceptions that may apply to your family and your family’s eligibility status.

9. Can I get the money from my EITC before tax season?
No. There is no longer an Advanced EITC program that allows you to get your refund before filing your taxes. You must file your taxes to receive and you will receive your refund in one check or direct deposit.

10. Will receiving money from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) affect my eligibility for other programs?
Some programs have resource tests that limit how much money families can have and still be eligible. For most programs, the money from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is NOT counted as an asset during the month it was received and the following month. After that, the money may affect your eligibility for programs that have asset limits. Some programs have different rules:

  • For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility, money from the EITC is not counted as an asset for 9 months after it was received.
  • For Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP- Food Stamps) eligibility, money from the EITC is not counted as an asset for 12 months after it was received.
  • Money placed in an Individual Development Account (IDA) is never counted toward asset limits.

11. If I have or can get health insurance through my employer or another source, will I still qualify for public health insurance?
Healthy Steps is a health insurance program for North Dakota children who do not have health insurance coverage, are 18 years of age or younger, do not qualify or are not fully covered by the North Dakota Medicaid Program, and live in low-income families.  Indian Health Services is NOT health insurance.  If you have a medical insurance policy that only covers a specific service, like dental, vision, or cancer-only policies, you should apply.

12. Is there a waiting list for any programs on this site?
Some programs may have waiting lists, they are usually specific by county.  Your best bet is to apply now, and contact your county social service office or look on the North Dakota Department of Human Services web site.