The Minnesota food assistance program is established to provide food assistance to legal noncitizens residing in this state who are ineligible to participate in the federal Food Stamp Program solely due to the provisions of section 402 or 403 of Public Law 104-193, as authorized by Title VII of the 1997 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, Public Law 105-18, and as amended by Public Law 105-185.
Beginning July 1, 2003, the Minnesota food assistance program is limited to those noncitizens described in this subdivision who are 50 years of age or older.
To be eligible for the Minnesota food assistance program, all of the following conditions must be met:
(1) the applicant must meet the initial and ongoing eligibility requirements for the federal Food Stamp Program, except for the applicant's ineligible immigration status;
(2) the applicant must be either a qualified noncitizen as defined in section 256J.08, subdivision 73, or a noncitizen otherwise residing lawfully in the United States;
(3) the applicant must be a resident of the state; and
(4) the applicant must not be receiving assistance under the MFIP or the work first program.
(a) The rules for the Minnesota food assistance program shall follow exactly the regulations for the federal Food Stamp Program, except for the provisions pertaining to immigration status under section 402 or 403 of Public Law 104-193.
(b) The county agency shall use the income, budgeting, and benefit allotment regulations of the federal Food Stamp Program to calculate an eligible recipient's monthly Minnesota food assistance program benefit. Until September 30, 1998, eligible recipients under this subdivision shall receive the average per person food stamp issuance in Minnesota in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1997. Beginning October 1, 1998, eligible recipients shall receive the same level of benefits as those provided by the federal Food Stamp Program to similarly situated citizen recipients. The monthly Minnesota food assistance program benefits shall not exceed an amount equal to the amount of federal Food Stamp Program benefits the household would receive if all members of the household were eligible for the federal Food Stamp Program.
(c) Minnesota food assistance program benefits must be disregarded as income in all programs that do not count food stamps as income.
(d) The county agency must redetermine a Minnesota food assistance program recipient's eligibility for the federal Food Stamp Program when the agency receives information that the recipient's legal immigration status has changed in such a way that would make the recipient potentially eligible for the federal Food Stamp Program.
(e) Until October 1, 1998, the commissioner may provide benefits under this section in cash.