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Issue Alert - 02-09-09

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Oct 01, 2002

Issue Summary:

The Family Independence Agency (FIA) requires local offices to develop criteria for the denial of overcap exceptions, to notify applicants of the reason if denied and to inform applicants of their right to a hearing.

Persons Affected:

SER applicants


State Emergency Relief (SER)

What's Happening?

FIA has issued policy stating that SER applicants must be allowed a hearing on SER denials, including local office exception denials. Local offices must establish clear guidelines for when to deny local office exceptions. Caseworkers must document the reason when an application is denied, and they must notify the applicant of the denial, the denial reason, and their right to a hearing.

What Should Advocates Do?

Advocates should request a copy of the local office exception guidelines from their local FIA office so they may advise clients who apply for these exceptions. If clients are denied local office exceptions inconsistent with the guidelines, advocates should advise them to request a hearing and seek legal advice. Additionally, if clients do not receive notification of a denial that includes the denial reason, advocates should advise them to seek legal advice. Remember that it is possible to request expedited telephone hearings in emergency situations.

What Should Clients Do?

Clients who are denied local office overcap exceptions should seek legal advice if they are not notified of the denial reason. Clients may also want to ask FIA for a copy of the local office guidelines for granting local office exceptions to make sure their denial reason falls under those guidelines. If clients don’t receive a denial notice or are not told the reason for their denial, they should seek legal advice.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services office handle these type of cases, and they do not charge a fee. You can locate the "free" legal services or legal aid office that serves your county on the Michigan Legal Assistance Network website ( or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738