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Issue Alert - 08-06-01

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Date:

Jun 09, 2008

Program Area:

Food Assistance Program

Issue Summary:

Food Assistance recipients in households that lost food in June due to flooding or loss of power caused by storm activity should request replacement benefits within 10 days of the occurrence.

Persons Affected:

Food Assistance Program (FAP) 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

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


Background

Food Assistance recipients may be issued a replacement of food that has been reported destroyed in a domestic misfortune or disaster.  Domestic misfortunes or disasters include events which occur through no fault of the client, such as fires, floods or electrical outages. (PAM502)

DHS may elect to automatically replace benefits for large geographic areas affected by a disaster.

What's Happening?

Food Assistance households that lost food in June due to a domestic misfortune or disaster can request replacement benefits through DHS.  DHS will replace the amount of food the client states they have lost up to the value of the current month’s allotment. Replacement benefits cannot exceed the regular allotment amount for June.

The food does not have to come from the current month; however the client must complete the DHS-601, Food Replacement Affidavit form describing the loss.  Clients can obtain the form from their DHS worker or a manual copy is located at: http://www.mfia.state.mi.us/olmweb/ex/rff/601.pdf.  Applicants for replacement FAP benefits should keep a copy of the DHS-601 for their records.

Replacements and reauthorizations are processed only if the client reports the loss in a timely manner. Timely means the loss must be reported to DHS no later than 10 days following the occurrence of the misfortune or disaster.  FAP households should not wait to report their loss.

DHS must respond within 10 days of the request for replacement benefits, or within 2 working days of receipt of the signed DHS-601, whichever is later. 

What Should Advocates Do?

Please try to get the word out right away in light of the 10-day limit on requesting replacements. Your local Information and Referral Centers and emergency food providers may be a good place to start, since they will be fielding many calls from recipients who need food.

What Should Clients Do?

If the client does not receive a response from DHS, they should contact a supervisor.  If a client is denied, they should contact a supervisor and/or file for a hearing.  Recipients or agency staff who have questions can also contact CCJ's Food Stamp Helpline at (800) 481-4989.

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.