Sometimes it is hard to reach your caseworker. There are times when it is really important to talk to your caseworker, like if you need to report changes or have to meet a deadline. Other times, you need to get more information from your caseworker. Here are some helpful tips if you are having a hard time reaching your caseworker.
Calling your caseworker is probably the easiest way to reach him or her. However, if your caseworker doesn’t pick up, leave a message. Leave your name, phone number, case number, and briefly describe why you are calling. It is also a good idea to leave specific times you will be available to talk on the phone to avoid missing your caseworker’s call. Write down the date and time you called for your records.
Write a Letter or Email
If you can’t reach your caseworker by phone, write a letter or email to them. In it, include your name, your case number, and the information you are trying to give him or her. Be direct, be specific, and be polite. Also list the dates and times you tried calling and left messages.
Generally, it’s better to send an email than a letter. You automatically have an electronic copy of your message and any documents you attach. You also have proof that you sent it and when. Your caseworker’s email address is always his or her specialist ID followed by @michigan.gov. You can find your caseworker’s specialist ID on the top right corner of a notice you received from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The specialist ID is usually a combination of the specialist’s name. For example, if your caseworker’s name is Jane Doe, her specialist ID could be doej—which means her email address is email@example.com.
If you prefer to write a letter, make a copy of it and any other papers you are sending for your records. If there is a deadline, you may want to drop off the letter at the DHHS office in person. If you drop off the letter, sign the log book in the office lobby. If you have a camera phone, take a picture of your signature in the log book for your records. You could also ask the person who takes the letter to stamp your copy as proof of when you dropped it off.
You can also fax in the letter. If you fax your letter, be sure to keep the fax confirmation for your records.
Request a Hearing
If there is a deadline involved, or if you can’t reach your reach caseworker, you can request a hearing in writing. You can use the Do-It-Yourself DHHS Hearing Request to complete your request. Make a copy of the completed request to keep for your records.
You can fax, mail, or drop off your request in person. If you fax your request, be sure to keep the fax confirmation for your records. If you choose to mail your request, you may want to send it by certified mail. Be sure to direct it to a hearing coordinator, not your caseworker.
If you drop off your request, sign the log book in the office lobby. If you have a camera phone, take a picture of your signature in the log book for your records. You could also ask the person who takes the request to stamp your copy as proof of when you dropped it off.
After you request a hearing, DHHS will schedule a pre–hearing conference with you within 10 days. Your caseworker will be at this conference. If you resolve the problem(s) at the conference, you can withdraw your hearing request.
Before withdrawing your hearing request, make sure you have proof in writing that the problem will be fixed. DHHS may send you a benefit notice or a case action notice that will reflect the change. If you don’t receive a notice from DHHS, don’t sign the hearing withdrawal until DHHS fixes the problem.
If the reason you were requesting the hearing was because DHHS wrongfully terminated or decreased your benefits, you might be eligible for retroactive benefits. If you are, this means you could receive a supplement to make up for your lost benefits. If you have questions about retroactive benefits, you may want to contact a lawyer. Use Find a Lawyer to find a lawyer and legal services near you.
Call Customer Service
DHHS is in charge of benefits for Michigan. If you have a question about a specific benefit or service, you can find a program customer service phone number on the DHHS website, Help is One Call Away.