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Issue Alert - 10-01-03

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Date:

Jan 05, 2010

Program Area:

Family Independence Program (FIP) and Child Development and Care (CDC)

Issue Summary:

The Department of Human Services (DHS) now requires a mid-certification contact with (a) all CDC recipients and (b) FIP recipients with earnings

Persons Affected:

FIP recipients who have earnings, and all CDC 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

 

Ordinarily, individuals who qualify for Child Development and Care (CDC) child care subsidies or for Family Independence Program (FIP) cash assistance are certified to receive benefits for 12 months before their eligibility is redetermined. 


Under federal regulations, DHS must verify hours of employment at least once every six months for purposes of determining whether FIP recipients are meeting their work-related activity requirements.  As a result of problems with payment accuracy and fraud, DHS is increasing its efforts to verify eligibility and need for CDC benefits.

What's Happening?

 

DHS has revised its policy to require that FIP recipients with earnings and all CDC recipients complete and return a “Mid Certification Contact” with verification of employment hours and income, and hours of other CDC need (such as hours in approved education or training) by the end of the 6th month of their 12-month certification period.  BAM 210 p. 6 http://www.mfia.state.mi.us/olmweb/ex/bam/210.pdf, BPB 2010-001 p. 3-4 http://www.mfia.state.mi.us/olmweb/ex/BP-2010-001.pdf.   (Note that the policy in BAM 210 says that only proof of income is required, which is contrary to the description of policy in BPB 2010-001, although the Bulletin (BPB)).  BPB 2010-011 also indicates that DHS must check on the number of hours approved by the Michigan Works Agency, by accessing the MWA’s MIS system.

What Should Advocates Do?

 

Help clients understand and comply with these new requirements.

What Should Clients Do?

 

1.      Return mid-certification forms by the deadline.  Keep a copy.  To avoid problems caused by lost paperwork at DHS, if possible, drop the form at the DHS office and sign it into the log book, or get a proof of mailing from the Post Office if you mail it in.

2.      Return requested verifications with the mid-certification form.  Paystubs or a statement from you employer are most important.  If you have CDC for education or training that is not being approved and monitored by the Michigan Works Agency (Jet or Work First), submit verification of your hours, such as a class schedule.

Seek legal help if DHS stops or reduced your benefits because of problems with the midcertification review. See below for information about finding legal help.

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.