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Issue Alert - 11-10-02

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Date:

Oct 10, 2011

Program Area:

State Disability Assistance (SDA)

Issue Summary:

The Department of Human Services has issued and rescinded policy that restricted SDA for the caretaker of a person with disabilities to persons who care for an adult (age 18+) disabled person.

Persons Affected:

Individuals caring for the needs of a minor (under age 18) with disabilities, including the parent or caretaker of a disabled child who no longer qualifies for FIP because of time limits

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


Background

State Disability Assistance (SDA) is authorized by the Appropriations Act for the Department of Human Services (DHS), currently 2011 Public Act 63, section 64.

SDA is available to adults who (a) meet the SDA definition of disability or (b) live with, and are needed to provide assistance for at least 90 days to, certain persons with disabilities.  Assistance is defined as “personal care services and includes meal preparation, laundry, food shopping, errands, light cleaning, non-nursing personal care (bathing, dressing, etc.) and assistance with medication.”   

SDA recipients also must meet financial eligibility requirements. 

What's Happening?

On October 1, 2011, DHS issued Program Policy Bulletin 2011-017, which made caretakers for disabled persons ineligible for SDA if the person with disabilities is under age 18.  Caseworkers and the customer service representatives who answered the helpline set up by DHS to field questions about FIP time limits had been advised, prior to October 1,  that SDA would not be available to parents caring for disabled children as of October 1, 2011.

On October 7, 2011, DHS rescinded the age restriction, in Program Policy Bulletin 2011-019.

Some parents or non-parent caretaker relatives who become ineligible for Family Independence Program (FIP) assistance because of time limits (See Issue Alert 11-10-01) may qualify for SDA as caretakers of persons with disabilities.  Children who are time limited off of FIP cannot qualify for SDA because SDA recipients must be adults (age 18+).

SDA may be an important source of income for parents caring for disabled children, because parents cannot be paid as Home Help Services providers for their minor children.

Some parents or non-parent caretaker relatives who care for disabled children have already been told they cannot qualify for SDA, based on the policy that was posted from October 1 – October 7, 2011.

What Should Advocates Do?

1.    Educate clients, educators, community organizations, and others about the availability of SDA to parents caring for disabled children, spouses, or other persons with disabilities who live in the same home.

2.    Help clients who are losing FIP but who have disabled to children to reapply for SDA.

What Should Clients Do?

1. Educate clients, educators, community organizations, and others about the availability of SDA to parents caring for disabled children, spouses, or other persons with disabilities who live in the same home. 2. Help clients who are losing FIP but who have disabled to children to reapply for SDA.

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.