Follow Work Rules and Penalties (Cash/Food Assistance)

FIP or RAP cash assistance work rules. Your family must complete a Family Automated Screening Tool (FAST) and develop a Family Self-Sufficiency Plan (FSSP). This plan will list the work activities that you must do up to 40 hours per week to receive FIP or RAP. You design this plan with your DHS specialist and the Michigan Works! Agency.

Adults who receive FIP or RAP must:

  • Complete the screening tool.
  • Help make and comply with an FSSP.
  • Not quit, refuse work or reduce work hours.
  • Not get fired from a job due to misconduct or missing work.

Penalties for breaking FIP or RAP work rules. If you break the FIP or RAP work rules without good cause (see Good Cause below), DHS will:

  • Deny your application (you may reapply).
  • Stop FIP for your whole family for three (3) months for the first time; six (6) months for the second time, and for your lifetime for the third or any subsequent times.
  • Count all penalty months toward your 48-month state lifetime limit.
  • Stop RAP for you for at least one (1) month (but the rest of your household might be eligible).
  • If you receive both FIP and FAP, we will:
    • Stop or reduce your FAP benefits for at least one (1) month if you are not excused from FAP work rules.
    • Count your FIP grant amount as income for the length of time of the sanction. For a lifetime sanction, the FIP grant amount will be budgeted until the case reaches the 48-month state time limit.

FAP work rules. (NOTE: If you receive both cash and food benefits, you must follow FIP work rules.)

  • If you are working you may not:
    • Quit a job of 30 hours or more per week.
    • Voluntarily reduce work hours below 30 hours per week without good cause.
  • If you are not working or you work less than 30 hours per week, you may not:
    • Refuse a job offer.
    • Refuse to participate in required employment-related activities that must be done to receive unemployment benefits.

Penalties for breaking FAP work rules. If you receive FAP and you break the work rules without good cause, your benefits will stop or be reduced for:

  • At least one (1) month for the first time, and
  • Six (6) months for any other time after the first time.

Time limited food assistance rules. (NOTE: Time limits are not always in effect, so check with your DHS specialist.)

Special time limits and work requirements might apply to you if you are:

  • A person without a disability.
  • At least 18 years old but under the age of 50, and
  • Living in a household with no children under age 18 (related or unrelated).

Work Rule Deferrals and Good Cause 


Work Rule Deferrals ("Excused"). Some people who receive cash or food assistance may be excused from work rules. If you receive FIP and are excused from the work rules, you may have to do other activities. If you think you should be excused from work rules, talk to your DHS specialist. (NOTE: Reasons for being excused may change.)

You may be excused from FIP or RAP work rules if you are: 

  • Age 65 or older.
  • A parent of a baby less than two (2) months old. You may be assigned to family strengthening activities once the baby is six weeks old.
  • Working 40 hours per week.
  • Caring for a child or spouse with a disability (depending on the person's needs and the child's school attendance).
  • A person with a disability or medical limitations.
  • Experiencing a temporary critical event such as domestic violence (determined by DHS).

You may be excused from FAP work rules if you are: 

  • Age 60 or older.
  • Personally caring for a child under the age of six (6) who is receiving FAP on your case.
  • Working 30 hours per week or earning at least minimum wage times 30 hours per week.
  • Attending high school, adult education, or in a GED program for at least half-time.
  • Injured, ill or personally caring for household member with a disability.
  • Seven - nine (7-9) months pregnant.
  • Pregnant with medical complications.
  • Applying for FAP at a Social Security office.
  • In substance abuse treatment or rehabilitation.
  • Applying for or receiving unemployment benefits.
  • Appealing denial of unemployment benefits.

Good Cause. You have the right to claim good cause if you believe you should be excused from the FIP or RAP and/or FAP work rules. If you think you have a good cause reason, contact your DHS specialist right away. (NOTE: Reasons for good cause may change.)

FIP/RAP or FAP - Reasons for good cause: 

  • An unplanned event or factor that does not allow you to meet the work rules (e.g., domestic violence, religion, health or safety risk or homelessness).
  • Illness or injury.
  • You requested child care that was not provided.
  • You requested transportation services that were not provided.
  • Long commute (more than two (2) hours per day or more than three (3) hours per day with child care).
  • You quit a job to take a comparable job.
  • Your job required you to commit illegal activities.
  • You are physically or mentally unable to do the job.
  • Your employer discriminated against you based on age, race, color, gender, national origin, disability, religious beliefs, etc.
  • You are working 40 hours per week for at least state minimum wage.
  • Reasonable accommodation was not provided.

FAP only - You may have a good cause reason if you/your: 

  • Are deferred.
  • Moved due to another household member's job or education/training.
  • Have a job that requires you to retire or to join, resign from, or refrain from joining a labor union or organization.
  • Have a job that is at strike or a lockout site.
  • Have unreasonable work conditions.
  • Have been offered a job that is outside of your work experience during the first 30 days as a mandatory FAP work participant.
  • Employer is not able to keep the promise of work.