PLEASE use the online versions of the resources below if you can to save phone lines for those without internet or needing extra language support.
Apply IMMEDIATELY after you have been laidoff/furloughed:
Call: Monday-Friday, 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M., except on holidays. Twin Cities area: 651-296-3644 Greater Minnesota: 1-877-898-9090 Step 1: Make your language choice: press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish, 3 for Hmong, or 4 for Somali (If you need another language, press 1 and follow the steps below to speak to a representative and request an interpreter.) 2 Step 2: Enter your Social Security number and password followed by the # key. OR -If you are not asked to enter your password, press 2, and then press 0 to speak to a representative. Step 3: Press 2 for other options; Step 4: Press 3 for answers to commonly asked questions or to speak with a representative. Step 5: Press 0 to speak to a representative.
3. If you have children in school the state has opened a hotline for school and child care questions: 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
1. The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps pay for home heating costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified households
2. Your heat cannot be cut off between October 15 and April 15. To avoid disconnection, customers who receive a notice of proposed disconnection must immediately contact the utility and commit to a payment plan. If needed, Xcel Energy will refer customer to local community energy assistance programs.
Paying Rent or Mortgage
Paying Other Utilities
Financial Assistance: The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps pay for home heating costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified households
Pay something. Pay what you can. Depending on your bill and your account, even making a partial payment may cause them to just roll over the rest of the bill to the next month.
Lower your bill. If you qualify for any type of assistance from state or federal government, you can apply for and receive a 12-month low income discount on your cable bill.
Call to negotiate a lower rate. Tell them you will cut off the cable if you can’t negotiate a lower rate. They will move you to a different number where you will get new, lower options for your service.
Where can I find more information?
MMinnesotaCOVID-19 Hotline Health Concerns: 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Updates from MN Department of Health
What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is a pneumonia of unknown cause first detected in Wuhan, China.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Fever Cough Shortness of breath
How does COVID-19 spread ? Spread person-to-person between close contacts (within 6 feet) through droplets that spread in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes
What are other possible ways that COVID-19 may spread?
Per the CDC, limited possibility of disease spread by coming in contact with people before they show symptoms and/or possibly by touching a surface/object that has the virus on it and then touching one’s mouth, nose, or eyes.
What are daily preventive actions?
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Cover mouth & nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw tissue in the trash.
WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN with soap & water for at least 20 seconds. Use a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if soap and water are not available.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
General Budget Advice
Living on a reduced income requires your utmost caution and skill in managing your money. There are many resources to help you, but first you must plan ahead. Set up a realistic budget plan allowing for basic needs such as: food, shelter, utilities and medical care.
Prioritize your bills. When you do not have enough money to pay all the bills, pay these first: rent or mortgage, utilities, food and transportation. Before your bills become due, notify your creditors, lenders and/or landlord that you are unemployed and cannot meet your payments. Explain your situation truthfully and ask for a written payment plan or discuss other ways to pay off your obligations.
Maintain accurate files. Before mailing your letters, make copies to keep for your files. If you must negotiate over the phone, keep detailed notes including the representative’s name, title, and phone number. Follow up any phone conversations in writing.
Stay organized. Keep everything in one place. Write a summary list of your financial plan for quick reference.
Keep your end of the bargain. If you are unable to make agreed upon payments, contact your creditors immediately to renegotiate.
Avoid making unnecessary purchases on credit.
If you need help with a consumer problem contact: MN Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline (651) 296-3353
Your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
While debt collectors do have the right to demand payment, and eventually take legal action if necessary, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits any kind of harassment. The FDCPA applies to any personal, family, or household debt and covers debt collectors who regularly collect debt for others, but not the creditors themselves or their lawyers. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a collection call, you might wish to know: When can a collector contact me? Unless you give them permission to do otherwise, debt collectors can only contact you between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. They may not communicate with you by postcard. Can collectors contact me at work? A collector may not contact you at work if they know your employer disapproves. What constitutes harassment under the FDCPA? Collectors may not use profane language or threaten you with violence. In many instances, it prohibits the publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts. Collectors may not threaten to take your property unless they are actually able to do it. Can collectors contact my family or friends? Debt collectors can contact other people but only to ask for information on how to locate you. In most cases, the collector may not divulge the reason for the call to anyone other than you or your attorney. Can I get a collector to stop contacting me? Debt collection agencies are required to honor written requests to stop contacting consumers. Please be aware that sending a “cease and desist” letter does not relieve you of your responsibility. You will still owe the money, and the company may pursue collection efforts.