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Issue Alert - 13-04-04

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Apr 30, 2013

Program Area:

All assistance programs

Issue Summary:

Effective May 1, 2013, the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) will not count Social Security Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) in determining eligibility and benefit amounts in January through March of each year

Persons Affected:

Applicants for, and recipients of, benefits administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS)

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


For many years, Michigan has excluded the Cost of Living Adjustment to Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability benefits when determining eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs and ADCare Medicaid for January through March of each year.  This allows the department time to update the income limits for these categories, based on updates to the federal poverty level, before counting the COLA.  

What's Happening?

Effective May 1, 2013, BEM 503 p. 21 will state that Social Security COLAs will not count in January through March, for ALL benefit programs.  This will help some individuals and families become eligible, or retain eligibility or benefit payment levels during those months.  

What Should Advocates Do?

Let other organizations know about this change.

What Should Clients Do?

Get legal help if you are denied assistance or if your assistance is terminated or reduced, due to an increase in your Social Security benefits or for any other reason. 

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 You can also look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.