What Happens When You Apply For Assistance?

The Interview


Your case is assigned to a Department of Human Services (DHS) specialist who will meet with you if required and process your application. At this time the specialist usually explains:

  • what verifications will be needed,
  • confidentiality and your right to privacy,
  • the Personal Responsibility Plan and Family Contract (PRPFC),
  • Work First,
  • if you have income, how the income is budgeted,
  • how often you will receive your benefits, including food assistance benefits if you are eligible,
  • about home calls,
  • about Medicaid, and
  • about Child Development and Care to help pay for child care costs.




During your meeting with a DHS specialist, you will be asked to provide proof for most of the information you put on your application.  Except for permanent papers like birth certificates etc., most documents used for proof must be less than 30 days old. We might also need to contact your landlord, child care provider or employer etc., to verify your situation. Your signature on the application gives us permission to contact individuals, businesses etc., to verify information.


We might also need to visit your home, during normal business hours, to verify the information you gave us about your living arrangements. A DHS specialist may not enter your home without your permission and is not permitted to do home searches to determine if you are eligible for benefits. DHS employees who make home calls have indentification (ID) cards. Please ask to see the state ID card before allowing anyone you do not know to enter your home.


For more information about verification and a list of documents to bring with to your interview go to Verification.


Confidentiality and Your Right to Privacy


We do our best to handle information about you and your family with sensitivity and discretion. Any information you give is confidential. DHS is permitted to release case information only when it will be used in connection with the management of certain federal or federally funded programs, such as Food Assistance Program (FAP) benefits. The DHS must also release case information when a court orders it. However, no one from the general public may see your case record without your permission.


Personal Responsibility Plan and Family Contract (PRPFC)


DHS works with all adults in the Family Independence Program (FIP) to develop a Personal Responsibility Plan and Family Contract (PRPFC). The purpose of the plan is to outline the DHS' and your responsibilities as well as to help you set goals to become self-supporting.


If you receive FIP benefits you must carry out your PRPFC by participating in activities that will strengthen your family by increasing your:

  • employment,
  • education,
  • social and parenting skills, and
  • community service activities.


All adult FIP applicants requesting benefits for themselves must attend an orientationthat is held by DHS and the Michigan Works! TM Agency. Attendance at the orientation is also required by applicants for other programs as well. If you do not attend the orientation your application will be denied. You must attend this orientation and the first day of your Work First assignment before your case can be opened, even if you are already working.


In some instances, such as illness, you might be excused temporarily from participation in Work FIrst. However, you are still required  to complete a PRPFC and take part in activities that will strengthen your family. You will have to look for a job, once you recover and the temporary delay or deferral ends.


Work First


Work Firstoffers a variety of services that are designed to help you find and keep a job, gain work experience and learn skills that can be used on the job. A FIP (or other type of assistance) recipient may be required to continue with the Work First program (as a condition of eligibility) in order to receive benefits. The primary activity under Work First is job search. Other Work First activities and services vary from community to community. Some employment-related activities that might be available include:

  • Getting job leads and job placement help
  • Learning job-seeking skills in a group setting where everyone helps each other
  • Resume writing
  • Basic education training to help with reading, writing and math skills
  • Training to help you earn a high school diploma or GED
  • Receiving English as a second language training to help with reading and speaking English
  • Classroom programs that give training in a specific trade or new technology


When you are receiving FIP or Food Assistance Program (FAP) benefits, your education/employment preparation activity must be approved by your DHS specialist or Work First.


The following employment support services might be available through your local Work First provider:


  •  Counseling
  •  Pre-employment medical exams
  •  Information and Referrals
  •  Medical and dental assistance
  •  Moving Expenses
  •  Clothing for work
  •  Transportation Assistance
  •  Auto repair