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Issue Alert - 07-04-10

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Date:

Apr 16, 2007

Program Area:

Food Assistance Program (FAP)

Issue Summary:

Effective April 2007, when calculating FAP benefits, the Department of Human Services (DHS) will budget the last amount of Family Independence Program (FIP) received for the minimum length of the FIP penalty in cases where FIP had been terminated for noncompliance with employment of self-sufficiency related requirements

Persons Affected:

FAP recipients who do not comply with FIP employment or self-sufficiency related requirements

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: info@ccj-mi.org

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


Background

Federal law requires DHS to continue budgeting the amount of cash assistance a family loses due to noncompliance with employment-related requirements.

 

Previously, the terminated FIP grant was counted for one month when employment-related sanctions were imposed.

What's Happening?

Effective April 1, 2007, DHS policy has increased the FIP sanctions for noncompliance with work-related requirements.  The minimum penalty has been increased from one month to 3 months for the first or second noncompliance after April 1, 2007, and a minimum of 12 months for the third or subsequent noncompliance after April 1, 2007. 

Therefore, DHS has also increased the amount of time that the terminated FIP grant will continue to be budgeted as income for purposes of determining FAP eligibility and benefits.  The amount of the FIP grant that was terminated will be budgeted as income for the length of the family’s minimum FIP disqualification (either 3 months or 12 months depending on how many times they have been noncompliant since April 1, 2007).    PEM 233B p. 1-2. 

 

The change was released in Program Policy Bulletin (PPB) 2007-007.   DHS bulletins and policy manuals are available online at http://www.mfia.state.mi.us/olmweb/ex/html/ or by using the quick link at the Michigan Poverty Law Program (MPLP) website, http://mplp.org/.  For the bulletin, click on “Bulletin Log” under the Financial Assistance heading. 

DHS will continue to disqualify the noncompliant recipient from receiving FAP if he or she is subject to FAP work-related penalties.  Note that the groups of individuals who are exempt from FAP work requirements and disqualifications are different than the groups who are exempt for purposes of the FIP program.  However, for some families, a FIP sanction will also mean a reduction in FAP because the noncompliant person will be removed from the FAP group. The length of the FAP disqualification also is different than the length of FIP disqualifications.  See PEM 233B. 

What Should Advocates Do?

Make sure FAP recipients understand that their FAP may be affected by FIP noncompliance penalties for a longer period of time. 

 

Check to ensure that FAP recipients are not disqualified from receiving FAP based on noncompliance with FIP work requirements if they are exempt from FAP work requirements.

What Should Clients Do?

Seek legal advice if you receive notice your Food Stamps are being reduced or are not being increased because of noncompliance with work-related requirements.

 

Request a hearing within 12 days of the date on the notice to continue receiving FAP benefits pending the hearing outcome if you disagree with the decision or believe that it is incorrect. 

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