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Issue Alert - 03-03-03

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Date:

Apr 01, 2003

Issue Summary:

FIA will no longer approve applications for day care assistance when the applicant qualifies for less than 70% of FIA's maximum payment rate.

Persons Affected:

Recipients of and applicants for CDC assistance who have income above the limit to receive 70% of FIA's maximum payment rate.


Background

Child Day Care (CDC) assistance

What's Happening?

Effective February 1, 2003, FIA will only approve applications for CDC assistance for families whose income qualifies them to receive 70% of FIA's maximum payment rate or higher. The income limits based on group size follow.Group size:1 or 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10+Range of gross monthly income that qualifies a family to receive 95% of FIA's maximum rate:$0-$1496, $0-$1847, $0-$2198, $0-$2551, $0-$2902, $0-$3253, $0-$3604, $0-$3955, $0-$4309Range of gross monthly income that qualifies a family to receive 90% of FIA's maximum rate:$1497-$1533, $1848-$1895, $2199-$2255, $2552-$2616, $2903-$2976, $3254-$3336, $3605-$3695, $3956-$4055, $4310-$4417Range of gross monthly income that qualifies a family to receive 80% of FIA's maximum rate:$1534-$1570, $1896-$1943, $2256-$2311, $2617-$2681, $2977-$3050, $3337-$3418, $3696-$3786, $4056-$4155, $4418-$4525Range of gross monthly income that qualifies a family to receive 70% of FIA's maximum rate:$1571-$1607, $1944-$1990, $2312-$2367, $2682-$2746, $3051-$3123, $3419-$3500, $3787-$3877, $4156-$4254, $4526-$4634This means that families with income above the limit to receive 70% of FIA's maximum rate will not qualify for any CDC assistance. Before this change, families could receive help with as little as 30% of FIA's maximum payment rate. FIA will not approve any new applications for families who qualify for less than 70% of FIA's maximum payment rate, and current recipients who qualify for less than 70% will have their cases closed when they report a change or at their next recertification.

What Should Advocates Do?

<p>Advocates should make sure that their clients are aware of this change in eligibility for CDC assistance. They should advise their clients who receive less than 70% of FIA's payment rate that their CDC will not continue after their next recertification. Advocates should help these families find alternative childcare if they cannot afford to pay their current provider without CDC assistance. The Michigan 4C association can help families locate childcare. Their toll-free childcare referral hotline is 1-866-424-4532.Clients who will have to spend more of their income on childcare as a result of these changes may be eligible for additional Food Assistance. The Food Assistance Program (FAP - formerly Food Stamps) deducts child care costs from countable income, leading to increased allotments. Childcare costs are also deducted from income in the Medicaid program - which may be helpful to some families. Advocates should make sure their clients know that a lack of affordable, appropriate childcare is a "good cause" reason for not meeting a work requirement for FIA's programs. If parents have to miss work or Work First while they arrange alternative childcare, they should inform their caseworker immediately. They should write down when they had to miss work or Work First, why they had to miss (lack of childcare) and when they informed their caseworker.

What Should Clients Do?

Clients who currently receive CDC assistance for less than 70% of FIA's maximum payment rate should find alternative childcare or make other plans to pay their current provider before their next recertification. Clients who need help finding alternative childcare should call the Michigan 4C childcare referral helpline at 1-866-424-4532. Clients who have to miss work or Work First while they arrange alternative childcare should inform their caseworker immediately. They should write down when they had to miss work or Work First, why they had to miss (lack of childcare) and when they informed their caseworker. Clients who miss work or Work First because they don't have childcare and are sanctioned should seek legal advice immediately.Clients should be sure to report and ask that their increased child day care expenses be considered in any government programs, including Food Assistance, Medicaid, and subsidized housing.

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 (http://www.mlan.net/locate.html) or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738