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Issue Alert - Direct Support Services Change

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Jul 11, 2006

Program Area:

Family Independence Program (FIP, Child Day Care (CDC), Medicaid (MA, and Food Assistance Program (FAP)

Issue Summary:

There is no longer a work requirement for families applying for Direct Support Services (DSS) from DHS.

Persons Affected:

Families applying for Direct Support Services

For More Information:

Center for Civil Justice 320 S. Washington, 2nd Floor Saginaw, MI 48607 (989) 755-3120, (800)724-7441 Fax: (989) 755-3558 E-mail:

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


Direct Support Services (DSS) are goods and services provided to help families achieve self-sufficiency. Direct Support Services include Employment Support Services (ESS) and Family Support Services (FSS). There is no entitlement for DSS. The decision to authorize DSS is within the discretion of the Department of Human Services (DHS) or the Michigan Works Agency (MWA).

Employment Support Services (ESS) include, but are not limited to, transportation, special clothing, tools, physical exams, vehicle purchases and vehicle repair. ESS may be authorized by DHS or the MWA. ESS are available only if:
• no other resource is available; and
• the family is applying for or receiving, CDC, Medicaid (MA) or Food Assistance (FAP); and
• the CDC, MA or FAP recipient did not receive DSS for more than 4 consecutive months.

Family Support Services (FSS) include, but are not limited to, classes and seminars, counseling services and commodities. FSS may only be authorized by the Family Independence Specialist.

What's Happening?

Direct Support Services (DSS) are now available from the Department of Human Services (DHS) to families applying for Family Independence Program/Child Day Care/Medicaid and Food Assistance Program when the family needs a support service because a barrier to employment and self-suffiency exists. There is no longer a work requirement attached to DSS payments for non-cash families as long as the family does not recieve a payment for more than four consecutive months.

Families who are not active for a DHS program can still apply. All support services are issued on a case-by-case basis by the local office.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services offices handle these types of cases, and they do not charge a fee.

You can locate various sources of legal and related services, including the free legal aid office that serves your county, at

You can also look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.