Why this is important
Families that are self-sufficient have greater opportunities to thrive. The Dakota County Department of Employment and Economic Assistance delivers programs that provide income, food, and medical assistance to Dakota County residents. The number of public assistance cases per capita is an indicator of the need for these services, which require taxpayer support.
What the data show
The Dakota County Department of Employment and Economic Assistance has experienced increasing caseloads since 2005. From 2005 to 2014, public assistance (i.e., food support, cash support, and medical assistance) caseloads increased more than 115%, increasing from a monthly average of 52 to 112 active cases for every 1,000 county residents. Note that caseloads in 2014 include new cases due to the federal Affordable Care Act (MnSure).
On March 1, 2011, the State implemented Medical Assistance Expansion (MA/AX), a medical program that covers single adults without dependent children whose income is less than 75% of the federal poverty level (this group was not covered by Medical Assistance before March 2011). Beginning in 2014, Minnesota has had the option of expanding Medical Assistance eligibility further to individuals younger than 65 who earn up to 133% of the federal poverty level (or $14,859). This expansion would cover an additional 57,000 Minnesotans. The combination of the early expansion and the optional expansion is estimated to save the state budget about $1 billion from 2011 to 2015.