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State Emergency Relief Program (SER)


    The State Emergency Relief Program (SER) provides help to people who need money quickly for an emergency. Some examples are to prevent an eviction, stop a utility shut off, or pay for a burial. There are other types of emergencies that SER may cover.

    SER has an income test and an asset test. The income test may require you to pay a co-payment. A co-payment is an amount you must pay before you are eligible to receive SER money. The income test may also have a cap on how much money you are eligible to receive.

    The asset test limits the value of non-cash assets you can own and qualify for SER. The asset test will not apply to the first $50 of assets per household. Some assets, such as your home, one car, personal and household goods, are excluded from the asset limit.

    To apply for SER, submit an application to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The application process takes around 10 days to complete. One way to apply is online through the DHHS website, MI Bridges. However, if you need immediate help you can also apply in person at your local DHHS office. Your local DHHS 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 DHHS. Explain your emergency to your DHHS specialist. The DHHS specialist is the only person who can determine whether you are eligible for SER.

    When you apply, you will be asked to prove important parts of your application. This means you may have to show documents like birth certificates, social security cards, state ID cards, driver licenses, or passports. You may also need to take documents that show your income and expenses, like bank statements and proof of rent (such as a lease). These expense documents must be less than 30 days old.

    A DHHS specialist will contact you and set up a conference to go over your SER application. You should bring your important documents to this conference. The conference is also an opportunity to learn about your rights. Be sure to ask the DHHS specialist any questions you have about the application process or your public benefits.