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Issue Alert - 03-12-01

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Date:

Dec 01, 2003

Issue Summary:

The Family Independence Agency (FIA) will ensure that applications filed the business day following the furlough days will be treated as if they were filed on the preceding furlough day. FIA has also made processing SER and expedited FAP applications a priority for the 2 holiday furlough periods.

Persons Affected:

All applicants especially those applying for expedited FAP or SER.


Background

All programs especially Expedited Food Stamps (FAP) and State Emergency Relief (SER)

What's Happening?

FIA has sent a letter to local offices stating that local offices are required to date stamp applications received (or opened) on December 29th as if they were received on December 26. FIA must also date stamp those received (or opened) on January 5 as though they had been received on January 2nd. Thus, clients will not lose the three days of processing time while FIA was closed. Example: Applicants who apply for expedited food stamps (FAP) on December 29th must be able to access their FAP benefits through a Bridge card no later than January 2 because their application would be treated as though it had been filed on December 26. Similarly, a customer who applies for SER on December 29th must receive a decision by Monday, January 5, 2004. In addition to the above, the letter told local offices that they must give priority to processing expedited FAP and SER applications when the FIA offices reopen on Monday, December 29th and January 5th, 2004.

What Should Advocates Do?

Share this information with clients and agencies that provide emergency services in your service area. Encourage clients to apply for assistance during the holiday period if needed. Advise clients to request a hearing if their application is not processed within the applicable standard of promptness period. A copy of the policy letter advising local offices of these special rules is available from the Center for Civil Justice, info@ccj-mi.org. To find out if a client is eligible for expedited food stamps, contact the Food Stamp Helpline at 1-800-481-4989, or see FIA Program Administrative Manual (PAM) 117. You can access the FIA manuals on-line at:http://www.mfia.state.mi.us/olmweb/ex/html/

What Should Clients Do?

Clients who apply for assistance especially SER and expedited food stamps on either December 29, 2003, or January 5th, 2004, should be aware that their application receipt date is the previous Friday. If clients are not notified of their eligibility for the program they applied by the end of the standard of promptness period (see above), they should request a hearing and contact their local legal aid office.To find out if you are eligible for expedited food stamps, contact the Food Stamp Helpline at 1-800-481-4989, or refer to FIA Program Administrative Manual (PAM) 117. You can access the FIA manuals on-line at:http://www.mfia.state.mi.us/olmweb/ex/html/

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 LawHelp website (http://www.MI.lawhelp.org) or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.