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Issue Alert - 08-10-06

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Date:

Oct 07, 2008

Program Area:

Refugee Assistance Program (RAP)

Issue Summary:

Penalties for the First and Second Noncompliance with work- or self-sufficiency-related activities have been changed.

Persons Affected:

RAP recipients who fail, without good cause, to comply with work- or self-sufficiency-related activity 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

The Refugee Assistance Program has the same work- and self-sufficiency-related participation requirements as the Family Independence Program (FIP), under the Department of Human Services (DHS) policy in Program Eligibility Manual (PEM) Item 230A.   However, the penalties for non-compliance are different for RAP than for FIP.

For RAP, only the person who is non-compliant is disqualified from receiving cash assistance.  The other family members remain eligible.    PEM 233C.  (For FIP, the entire cash assistance grant is stopped.  PEM 233A.)

The DHS PEM is available online at http://www.mfia.state.mi.us/olmweb/ex/pem/pem.pdf.

What's Happening?

Beginning October 1, 2008, DHS policy has increased the minimum disqualification periods for RAP as follows:

      1st noncompliance: minimum 3 months

       2nd or subsequent noncompliance:  minimum 6 months

PEM 233C page 4.

What Should Advocates Do?

Ensure the new policy is applied correctly.

What Should Clients Do?

Seek legal advice if your benefits are cut off or reduced as the result of this policy.

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.