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State Emergency Relief Program (SER)

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    State Emergency Relief Program (SER) is available to eligible applicants 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.

    SER’s asset test limits the value of non-cash assets you can own and qualify for SER. Also, households with more than $50 in cash assets must pay the amount over $50 towards the emergency (except for burial services). 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 Human Services (DHS). The application process takes around 10 days to complete. One way to apply is online through the DHS website, MI Bridges. However, if you need immediate help 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. Explain your emergency to your DHS specialist. The DHS specialist is the only person who can determine whether you are eligible for SER.

    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. You need to show proof of your emergency, such as a shut-off notice or eviction complaint. 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 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 DHS specialist any questions you may have about the application process or your public benefits.