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Family Independence Program (FIP, or Cash Assistance)

Contents

    The Family Independence Program (FIP) provides cash assistance to families with minor children. FIP families must have at least one primary caretaker living with a minor child. A primary caretaker is the adult responsible for the physical care and supervision of the minor child.

    There are some exceptions to the minor child requirement. If you are a pregnant woman or parent of a child in foster care that is expected to return home within one year, you may also be eligible for cash assistance.

    FIP has income and asset limits. The income limits are based on the size of your household, and some of your expenses are taken into account. Assets are cash, personal property, or real property. Some types of assets are not counted toward the FIP asset limit, including your home and car.

    FIP eligibility also requires that you must have at least one citizen or qualified legal immigrant in your family. Even if other family members do not have legal immigration status, this will not stop your application as long as one member is legal. You must live in Michigan to qualify for FIP, and your family cannot receive cash assistance from any other state.

    If you are an adult who applies for FIP you must follow a work participation program called PATH. PATH stands for Partnership. Accountability. Training. Hope. PATH begins with a 21-day assessment period in which caseworkers help you identify and address employment barriers. The PATH assessment period is an eligibility requirement. Your FIP case will not open until you successfully complete the 21-day assessment.

    Once you begin receiving FIP you must also follow work rules. You must complete a Jobs and Self-Sufficiency Survey and develop a Family Self-Sufficiency Plan (FSSP). The FSSP will list the work activities that you must do up to 40 hours per week to receive FIP. If you break work rules without good cause DHS may:

    • Deny your application

    • Stop cash assistance for your whole family for three months for the first time; six months for the second time; and for your lifetime for the third time

    • Count all penalty months toward your 48-month state lifetime limit

    To apply for FIP, submit an application to the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS). The application process takes around 45 days to complete. The fastest way to apply is online through the DHS website, MI Bridges. You can also apply in person at your local DHS office. Your local DHS office will give you a general application form, but it may be easier to print an application form and fill it out completely before going to DHS.

    Every applicant will be asked to verify (prove) important parts of their application. This means you may have to show permanent documents like birth certificates, social security cards, state identification cards, driver licenses, or passports. Your family may also need to provide temporary documents that show your income and expenses, like bank statements and proof of rent (such as a lease). Temporary documents must be less than 30 days old.

    A DHS specialist will contact you and set up a conference to verify your family’s FIP application. You should bring your important documents to this conference. The conference is also an opportunity to learn about your rights

    FIP cash assistance is subject to both state and federal time limits. Michigan law allows eligible adult recipients to receive FIP for no more than 48 months in their lifetime (some exceptions to apply). Federal law allows eligible adult recipients to receive FIP for no more than 60 months in their lifetime (no exceptions apply).