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Issue Alert - 07-04-13

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Apr 16, 2007

Program Area:

Family Independence Program (FIP)

Issue Summary:

The Department of Human Services will schedule a meeting to discuss good cause but will not make home visits before imposing penalties for failure to cooperate with establishing paternity or collecting child support

Persons Affected:

Families that receive FIP and fail to cooperate with paternity or child support 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:

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


The Family Independence Program (FIP) provides cash assistance to very low income families with children.  Recipients must cooperate in establishing paternity and obtaining child support for children who receive assistance on the FIP case.

FIP will be terminated for minimum of one month if the adults in the family fail to cooperate without cause.

In the past, DHS had to conduct a home visit prior to termination of FIP for non-cooperation.

What's Happening?

Effective April 1, 2007, DHS policy provides that DHS must offer an in-person meeting to discuss good cause prior to termination for non-cooperation, but is not required to make a home visit.

What Should Advocates Do?

o      Make sure FIP applicants and recipients understand that they can claim good cause for non-cooperation with paternity and child support requirements. 

o      Assist individuals in establishing good cause, especially if they are accused of noncooperation.

Assist clients in requesting hearings if they receive notice that FIP will be terminated due to noncompliance.

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.