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Homeowners Assistance and Housing Programs
Michigan – Making Home Affordable options
Making Home Affordable is a federal program designed to cover different homeowners’ hardships and financial situations. Under the program there are various options that can help Michigan homeowners in hardship stay in their homes. Depending on the situation Michigan homeowners in hardship can apply to lower their monthly payments, lower the interest rate on their home loan or even get principal reduction in some cases.
There are foreclosure alternatives and temporarily help for unemployed homeowners as well.
Here are some of the most used options under Making Home Affordable Program:
- Lower your monthly mortgage payments with Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP)
- Lower your interest rate with Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)
- Check eligibility for principal reduction with Principal Reduction Alternative SM (PRA)
- Get help if currently unemployed with Home Affordable Unemployment Program (UP)
- Reduce your 2nd mortgage monthly payments with Second Lien Modification Program (2MP)
- Explore your foreclosure alternatives with Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA)
- FHA Home Affordable Modification Program (FHA-HAMP)
HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) approved housing counselor can be reached at: 888-995-4673 (Hearing impaired: 877-304-9709 TTY) to help you understand your options, prepare your application, and work with your mortgage company.
Food Assistance Programs, Services, and Organizations in Michigan
Michigan Food Assistance Program (FAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the Food Stamps Program as it is known by the public, is a federal program that provides grants to the States for purpose of reducing the hunger and malnutrition in all eligible households across the nation. SNAP helps provide healthy food to qualifying low-income families with children, elderly or disabled in each State of the USA, including Michigan.
It is important to know that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a federal entitlement program funded by U.S. Government grants. Any U.S. Citizen, even some legal alien residents, will get free food assistance as long as they meet the SNAP eligibility guidelines. In other words, there is enough Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for every American that qualifies. Learn more about SNAP.
In Michigan the SNAP is administered by Michigan Department of Human Services. The Federal Government oversees the State operation of the SNAP. According to Michigan Department of Human Services FAP provides benefits that can be used to buy food (including seeds and plants to grow your own food) for your household. People of all ages may receive food assistance in Michigan.
Who is Eligible for Food Assistance in Michigan?
The eligibility rules and benefit amounts in Michigan, like in other States, are based on limited income, limited liquid resources, household size, and other requirements. Most eligibility rules are determined by regulations issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service.
The federal law allows States some flexibility when implementing SNAP on a State level. State agencies can adapt some of the food assistance program rules in order to meet the needs of eligible, low‐income local population.
Michigan Food Assistance Program is designed for individuals and families with limited income resources, who compose a household, and purchase and prepare their meals together for home consumption.
In general, to qualify for Michigan Food Assistance Benefits you must meet the following basic eligibility requirements:
- Michigan Resident – must be a U.S. Citizen or a legal resident with SNAP eligible non-citizen status;
- Work Requirement – unless exempted, each able-bodied household member must work or participate in an employment and training program, registered to work, and accept a suitable employment offer;
- Asset Limits – Countable liquid household assets must be under $5,000. Countable assets include, but are not limited to, cash, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, real property excluding first home, household vehicles, and recreational vehicles. First household vehicle is excluded, other vehicles with fair market value over $15,000 are counted.
- Low Income – Income limits eligibility depends on the household size and composition. Households with no elderly or disabled individuals must meet both gross and net income limits. Households with elderly or disabled individuals must meet only the net income limits. Gross income includes wages, salaries, commissions, dividends, child support, self-employment income, unemployment compensation, social security benefits, veteran benefits, and other. Household net income is computed by deducting certain allowed expenses from gross income. The resulting numbers must fall below the net income dollar amounts listed in the table below for your household to get food assistance benefits. This dollar amount depends on the number of people in your household.
See the table with Michigan Food Assistance Program income limits per household size below.
[table id=1 /]
Source: USDA, SNAP Income Eligibility Standards
Some Michigan residents may be automatically or so called categorically eligible for Food Assistance if they already participate in other means tested assistance programs. Getting benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) federal block grant or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can make the applicant for Food Assistance categorically eligible. Under the federal SNAP regulations, States do have to assign a gross income limit of 200% of the federal poverty line (FPL) or less in order to use any TANF-funded benefit that can make Food Assistance applicants eligible. Call 1-855-275-6424 for more information on Michigan Food Assistance Program.
Quick Eligibility Check
Use this Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool to find out if you might be eligible to get Michigan Food Assistance Benefits (Food Stamps). The Screening allows interested in getting Michigan food stamps to provide some basic information and determine if they are potentially eligible for benefits. Although you will be notified immediately if you qualify after completing the questionnaire you still have to make and sign an application at your local County Department of Human Services.
What are the Benefits?
If approved, the Michigan Food Assistance Benefit amounts depend on the household size and the amount of the their net income. USDA has maximum food stamp benefit limits per month per household size. Check below what are the maximum food stamp assistance monetary amounts. They are called allotments.
[table id=29 /]
Source: USDA, SNAP Maximum Allotments
How to Apply for Food Assistance (Food Stamps) in Michigan?
State of Michigan Department of Human Services offers a booklet that has an application form for Michigan Food Assistance Program along with other assistance program.
You can apply for Food Assistance and other listed assistance programs. Answer all questions related to what you are applying for, fill out all required information, and mail or turn the application to the DHS office in your area.
In case you do not have all the information that is required you may turn in your assistance application incomplete but it must have your name, address (unless homeless), and signature. The DHS office must accept it with the current date. If you are approved later this is the date you will be entitled to start receiving Food Assistance Benefits.
Before decision is made a DHS specialist has to interview you and verify all the paperwork. Most interviews are held by phone but the applicants are allowed to have in-person interview – upon request.
The DHS may ask you to provide some supporting documents that would help DHS specialist determine your eligibility.
If the DHS finds you eligible for Food Assistance benefits, they will send you a letter stating how much food assistance benefit and for how long your household is eligible for before a review of your case is due. In case your application for food assistance is denied, you will get a letter explaining the reason of denial.
Michigan Food Assistance Approval, Rules, Proofs Required
The Michigan DHS specialist has to interview you and verify provided information before determining if the household is eligible for Food Assistance Benefits.
Here is a list of examples of information and proofs that may be needed at the interview:
- Driver’s License
- ID Card
- Birth Certificate
- Tax Return
- Assets (cash, bank accounts, etc.)
- Paycheck Stubs
- Social Security Numbers (for all applying for food stamps)
- Self-employment records of income and expenses
- Social Security award letter
- Child support receipts
- Immigration status
- U.S. citizenship
- School enrollment
This is not a complete list and depending on case the DHS may request additional types of proof and application supporting documents.
Applicants for FAP benefits in Michigan should get a response within 30 days from the date their application was accepted by the DHS office. When start getting food stamps benefits, households must report any changes of their situation in a set by the agency period of time (in Michigan – simplified reporting and 12-month certification) in order to assure their participation in the Michigan Food Assistance Program.
Under the simplified reporting option, households are required to report changes in income, household formation, employment, and household assets between certification and scheduled reporting periods within a set period of time.
The Michigan DHS has a list with the types of changes you must report:
- Employment – when it changes, starts or stops report is due within 10 days of receiving your first/last payment.
- Change in rate of pay – within 10 days of receiving the first payment reflecting the change.
- Bank accounts (opening/changes/closures), sale/ purchase of property, etc.
- Change of hours worked by more than five hours per week, if it will last more than one month.
- Unearned income starts or stops (like Social Security, unemployment or retirement benefits, etc.).
- Unearned income changes by more than $50 per month for most programs.
- Change in assets
- Change of address.
- Housing or utility cost stops, starts or changes.
- Anyone moving in or out of your home.
- Changes in child care need, cost or provider.
- Changes in child support amount paid out or received.
- Health or medical insurance premiums or change in coverage.
- Changes in a child’s school attendance.
Federal SNAP regulations require all non‐exempt household members to comply with work requirements. Work requirements include registering for work, not voluntarily quitting a job, and accepting a suitable employment offer for all SNAP benefit recipients age 16 through 59 if they are not exempt.
As per federal SNAP guidelines, individuals who fail to comply with SNAP work requirements without good cause are ineligible for program benefits and disqualified from SNAP for certain periods of time, depending on how many prior instances of non‐compliance there have been.
The law limits the SNAP benefits to 3 months in a 3-year period for all able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 through 49 without dependents, who are not working or participating in a work program for at least 20 hours each week.
As part of the SNAP federal grant assistance requirements, each State has to offer employment and training (E&T) program to its SNAP benefits recipients. Participants in such programs, where available, can get adult education, vocational training, job skills training for specific jobs, and work experience via short-term unpaid work assignments.
The main goal of the work requirement is to help the SNAP recipients get jobs, reduce or eliminate their dependency on the government benefits.
In Michigan, working Food Assistance Program participants must not quit their job or voluntary reduce work time below 30 hours per week. FAP participants that do not work may not refuse a job offer or refuse to participate in required by DHS employment related activities or referral to employment and training program.
Call 1-855-275-6424 if you want to find more about FAP work requirements and if you can be exempted.
Approved! When and How Do I Get the Food Assistance Benefits?
Michigan Food Assistance Program provides the SNAP benefits via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The monetary benefits of the Michigan SNAP are transferred to the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through Michigan EBT card, also called the Bridge Card.
Benefits are made available from the 3rd to the 21th of every month, based on the last digit of the recipient’s ID #:
Recipient ID # ends in: 0=benefits available on the 3rd of the month
Recipient ID # ends in 1 = benefits available on the 5th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 2= benefits available on the 7th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 3 = benefits available on the 9th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 4 = benefits available on the 11th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 5 = benefits available on the 13th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 6 = benefits available on the 15th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 7 = benefits available on the 17th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 8 = benefits available on the 19th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 9 = benefits available on the 21st of the month
If you have any question regarding your EBT Account or EBT Card call Michigan EBT Customer Service: 1-888-678-8914
How and Where to Use the Food Assistance (Food Stamp) Benefits?
In Michigan, households and individuals approved for Food Assistance get Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards, the Bridge Card, to use their food assistance benefits at any Michigan food stamps grocery stores and farmers’ markets that are authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Eligible food items are any food to be eaten at home by people, including baby food, non-alcoholic beverages, and seasonings. Seeds and plants to grow food for your own family’s consumption are also allowed to be purchased with food stamp benefits. You cannot buy non-grocery items with food stamp benefits, such as cleaning products, pet food, paper products, alcohol, or tobacco.
I Need Food Assistance Now. It is an Emergency!
Some households may get Expedited Services – that is getting Food Assistance Benefits within 7 calendar days if your household has less than $150 in monthly gross income and liquid resources (cash, checking or savings accounts) of $100 or less; or your rent/mortgage and utilities are more than your household’s combined monthly income and liquid resources; or a member of your household is a migrant or seasonal farm worker. In order to get expedite assistance, if you qualify, provide all required information and proof as soon as possible. Call 1-855-275-6424 for more information on Michigan Food Assistance Program.