Diversionary work program (DWP)

We offer cash support and other resources to low-income families for as long as four months to help them actively look for work. The goal of the Diversionary Work Program (DWP) is to stabilize incomes so families do not need to apply for broader benefits from the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP).

Participants work with a job counselor to develop an employment plan before benefits can be issued. In a two-parent family, both must participate, and each family member must have a social security number or have applied for one.

Participants may also be eligible for other programs, including food support, health care programs, child care assistance and child support.

Enrollment in the diversionary work program generally is required before participation in the Minnesota Family Investment program, with the following exceptions:
  • Child-only cases
  • A one-parent family that includes an infant younger than one (this is a one-time exception)
  • A minor caregiver without a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • A caregiver who is older than 60, or a caregiver 18 or 19 years old without a high school diploma or its equivalent, who chooses to have an employment plan with an education option
  • A family with a parent who already has received diversionary work program or Minnesota Family Investment Program benefits within the past 12 months
The amount of each family's cash grant depends on the number of people in the family, monthly household needs, personal needs allowance, and countable income. Applicants must provide verification of expenses including phone, rent/mortgage, and utilities.

Once a grant amount has been determined, increases in income generally will not decrease the benefit, if the initial benefit amount was based on the best information available at the time. These DWP benefits do not count toward the MFIP 60-month lifetime limit.

If you need help applying

You may have someone else apply for you. To do this, you must write a letter identifying that person as an "authorized representative" who has permission to complete the process on your behalf. If you are in the hospital or home-bound, call our office for assistance.

How to apply

Complete one of the applications below to apply. If you complete the combined application form you will need to submit it to one of our locations or email it to mnprairie@mnprairie.org.  You may also call 507.431.5600 to have a form mailed to you.
The Diversionary Work Program (DWP) is a four-month program that helps Minnesota parents find jobs. The goal is to help parents quickly find work so that they do not need to go on the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP). When families first apply for cash assistance, most will be enrolled in this program.