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What Happens When You Apply For Assistance

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;
  • Family Automated Screening Tool (FAST) and the Family Self-Sufficiency Plan (FSSP);
  • Jobs, Education and Training (JET);
  • 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 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.

For more information about verification and a list of documents to bring with you 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.

Family Automated Screening Tool (FAST) and the Family Self-Sufficiency Plan (FSSP)
DHS works with all adults in the cash assistance program to develop a Family Self-Sufficiency Plan (FSSP). The information you enter on the FAST will be used in the creation of the FSSP; and the completion of the FAST is one of your first work related activities, even if you are temporarily deferred from work rules.  The purpose of the FSSP is to outline DHS's and your responsibilities, as well as to help you set goals to become self-supporting.

If you receive cash assistance you must carry out your FSSP by participating in activities that will strengthen your family by increasing your:

  • Employment and employability skills,
  • Education,
  • Social and parenting skills, and
  • Community service activities.

All adult cash assistance applicants requesting benefits for themselves, who are not temporarily deferred, must complete an orientation that is held by Michigan Works! TM. You must complete orientation at Michigan Works in order for your case to be opened, even if you are already working.

PATH: Partnership. Accountability. Training. Hope.

Many families seeking cash assistance through the Michigan Family Independence Program (FIP) face significant barriers in securing and retaining employment. From child care to transportation and literacy, caseworkers cite a long list of barriers that can keep families from achieving self-sufficiency.

Applicants for cash assistance will take part in a robust, results-oriented work participation program - PATH (Partnership. Accountability. Training. Hope.). The program features a 21-day assessment period during which barriers to employment are identified and caseworkers work individually with clients to connect them with resources to address these barriers. This intensive orientation period is a departure from the previous program, JET (Jobs, Education and Training), in which orientation periods varied across the state from one to three days. The orientation and job placement program under PATH will continue to be administered by the Workforce Development Agency and Michigan Works! Agencies, which hold the contracts for these activities statewide. Learn more about the program.