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. If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact us at: Rural Dynamics, Incorporated PO Box 2326 Great Falls, MT  59403 Toll Free: 1-877-277-2227

Jordyn Rogers, Executive Assistant jordynr@ruraldynamics.org


  1. What is an income limit?
  2. What are resources?
  3. Which programs count resources?
  4. What if I don't have any children? Will I still qualify for any of these programs?
  5. What if I am pregnant? Does this change my eligibility for any programs?
  6. How does Montana residency affect my eligibility for these programs?
  7. How does my immigration status affect my eligibility for these programs?
  8. Who is an eligible caregiver for the Best Beginnings Child Care scholarship program?
  9. What if all eligible caregivers in my household are NOT employed the minimum amount each month? Can I still get Best Beginnings Child Care scholarship?
  10. Will receiving money from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) affect my eligibility for other programs?
  11. Is there a waiting list for any programs on this site?

1. What is an income limit?
An income limit is the maximum amount of money that you or your family can make and still qualify for a program. If your yearly gross income (before taxes) is higher than an income limit, you will probably not qualify. However, some programs have exceptions to the income limits. Some programs have different income levels for different members of a family.

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

3. Which programs count resources?
Child Care Assistance Programs: Child Care Assistance Programs do not look at resources.

EITC: Investment income must be $3,400 or less for Tax Year 2015.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP): Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs do not look at resources.

Medicaid: For regular Medicaid, total countable resources 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. 

Low Income Energy Assistance Program: LIEAP does look at resources. The resource limit varies by family size, to see a chart of countable resource limits click here.

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

Children’s Health Insurance Program:

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

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

5. What if I am pregnant? Does this change my eligibility for any programs?
Income limits are higher for pregnant women, and many asset limits do NOT apply. 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 woman carrying twins would equal three people.

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

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): There are no Montana 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 Montana resident to apply. However, you must live in Montana as long as you are getting SNAP here.

Medicaid: You must plan to stay in Montana. 

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

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

7. 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 are not required to provide Social Security Numbers and it will not impact your ability to get any benefits if you do not provide them.

SNAP: You must have a Social Security Number (or proof that you have applied for a number) for each person in the household applying for SNAP.

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.

8. Who is an eligible caregiver for the Best Beginnings Child Care scholarship 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.

9. What if all eligible caregivers in my household are NOT employed the minimum amount each month? Can I still get Best Beginnings Child Care scholarship?
If all eligible caregivers in your household are not employed the minimum each month or participating in SNAP Employment and Training activities (SNAP ELT), 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.

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.
  • Money placed in an Individual Development Account (IDA) is never counted toward asset limits.

11. 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 local application agency or look on the Montana Department of Health and Human Services website.