Personal tools

Issue Alert - 07-05-03

Document Actions
Date:

May 23, 2007

Program Area:

Family Independence Program (FIP)

Issue Summary:

DHS has issued some policy clarifications regarding the new Welfare Reform Procedures

Persons Affected:

FIP recipients

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

In April 2007, the Department of Human Services (“DHS”) issued extensive new policies to comply with the statutory changes and changes made to comply with federal rules issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The new policies were announced by DHS in Program Policy Bulletin (PPB) 2007-007, which is available online.  New policy is contained in several Program Administrative Manual (PAM) and Program Eligibility Manual (PEM) items.  See issue alert 07-04-08.

 
In PPB 2007-008, DHS provided a number of policy clarifications regarding the new Welfare Reform rules. These changes or clarifications will not be reflected in the Program Eligibility Manual (PEM) until July.   We have also updated issue alert 07-04-08 with the clarifications mentioned in this alert.

 
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.  To access previous issue alerts, go to  http://mplp.org/

What's Happening?

DHS has issued the following clarifications regarding the new welfare reform rules: 

 
DHS HAS CLARIFIED  POLICY ON HOW PENALTIES APPLY WHEN THE NON-COMPLIANT PERSON LEAVES THE HOME.


In DHS’ initial policy distributed in April 2007, it stated that DHS would continue to impose sanctions on a family even if the non-compliant member left the home.  DHS has clarified this policy to say that if the non-compliant person leaves the home AND a new caretaker applies for FIP for the children in the sanctioned family, DHS will determine FIP eligibility for the new group with the different caretaker.

 
DHS HAS CLARIFIED ITS POLICY REGARDING PENALTIES WHEN THE CLIENT REQUESTS CASE CLOSURE BEFORE A NOTICE OF NONCOMPLIANCE IS SENT.


DHS’ initial policy distributed in April 2007 stated that if the client’s FIP case was closing for a reason other than non-compliance, including client request for case closure  after a notice of non-compliance was sent to the client, DHS would proceed with the good cause determination and would apply the work-related penalty if good cause did not exist. 

 
DHS has issued a clarification of policy stating that if PRIOR TO DHS SENDING A NOTICE OF NONCOMPLIANCE, (a) case closure has been initiated by DHS for a reason other than non-compliance or (b) case closure has been requested by the client, the caseworker should proceed to close the case for that reason and NOT pursue case closure with the noncompliance penalty.  

What Should Advocates Do?

DHS continues to issues changes and clarification to its April Welfare Reform policy.  Check DHS policy to verify the policy is still accurate before advising clients.  Tell clients that if they receive a negative action notice from DHS that they should seek legal help immediately and comply with the DHS requests.  Review issue alert 07-04-08 for a comprehensive review of the changes. 

What Should Clients Do?

If you receive a negative action notice from DHS for non-compliance with your work assignment or Family Self-Sufficiency Plan, you should seek legal help immediately and comply with the DHS requests.  Review issue alert 07-04-08 for a comprehensive review of the changes. 

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.