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Issue Alert - 04-07-07

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Date:

Jul 07, 2004

Issue Summary:

Updates to the income and expense formula for FAP eligibility (PEM 226, PEM 554)

Persons Affected:

Persons receiving FAP

For More Information:

Michigan Poverty Law Program 611 Church Street, Suite 4A Ann Arbor, MI 48104-3000(734) 998-6100(734) 998-9125 Fax


Background

Food Assistance Program (FAP)

What's Happening?

INCOME:FIA will no longer count income for an alien child who receives income from an alien sponsor. EXPENSES:FIA will allow the $30 enrollment fee for FAP recipients who enroll for the Medicare-approved discount prescription card. At this point in time, it is not clear how FIA will handle the savings in copays that those clients who have the Medicard discount card. Currently, FIA will consider the amount of prescription copays as part of the FIA budget. However, once the client begins using the card, in theory, those payments will be lower which could result in a lower food stamp amount. For example, Martha is 65 years old and receives $1,000 in pension and social security. Currently she pays about $50 a month for her prescriptions. She also pays $675 in rent and pays for her heat. She is eligible for $84 a month in FAP. However, if her prescription copays are taken out of the formula and the $30 Medicare buy-in is included, her FAP eligiblity would normally be reduced to $71 a month. This is problematic because Congress, when it passed the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act, stated that the Medicare benefits cannot negatively impact persons receiving other benefits such as FAP. Thus, the fact that Martha spends less on prescriptions should not impact her eligibility level for FAP. The Food and Nutrition Service and states are in the process of trying to decide how to best deal with the changes. Once FIA has announced how it plans on dealing with the Medicare reduced copays, CCJ or MPLP will update advocates on the changes.

What Should Advocates Do?

Advocates should be aware of the new changes being implemented. Also be aware that more changes regarding FAP and Medicare will be coming at a later date. Advocates who are contacted by clients whose food stamps / food assistance benefits go down because of the Medicare discount card may want to contact CCJ or MPLP for an update on the status of this policy interpretation.

What Should Clients Do?

Clients should be aware of the new changes being implemented. Also be aware that more changes regarding FAP and Medicare will be coming at a later date.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services offices handle these types 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 web site (http://MI.LawHelp.org) or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.