Ingham County public assistance.

Anyone from the greater Ingham County region that needs information on public assistance can contact DHS. The social workers at the center will assess the families needs and then help them apply for benefits. There are resources ranging from SNAP food stamps to grants for paying energy bills as part of LIHEAP. Information is also available to federal government health care benefits, such as Medicaid and similar services.

These programs tend to be for very low income residents that are out of options. Most will also require the individual to register for services such as Work First Job Training and meet other conditions. This is required as the social workers need to see the applicant working towards self-sufficiency before using any public funds to help them.

The federal government and well as state of Michigan fund the LIHEAP program. Low income families will get help in conserving energy, and there may also be cash grants for paying a portion of their utility bill.

The Ingham County DHS program will provide funds for paying various types of fuel. Whether it is coal, gas, wood, heating oil or electricity, there may be financial support offered. However, the main purpose of any financial aid will always be on heating and cooling bills, with a focus on homes with disabled members, seniors, or children.

LIHEAP is often combed with energy conservation measures. This will normally be a requirement, as Human Services of Ingham County does not want to just pay out money if the homeowner or tenant does not take steps to reduce their usage. So the main program is weatherization. This is free to some residents, and it assists with energy efficiency, adds insulation to their home and air infiltration measures, among other steps.

DHS oversees the two main public assistance food programs. Or if those are not options or if the family does not qualify, then referrals can be made to other resources in the community. Eligibility for any resource is based on family size and income. More information on the options are below.

Food stamp applications, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, are processed. If found to be qualified, the household will receive a electronic benefit transfer card, which is similar to a debit card. It can can be used to buy groceries and other types of food at grocery stores or even discounters such as Wal-Mart.




The Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, also known as WIC, is an option. This one focuses on new mothers and homes with young children. There can be a combination of vouchers and checks used to buy formula and other items that new mothers or their child needs. Also, if the applicant is on Medicaid, or food stamps, they will be automatically income eligible for WIC.

Ingham County Department Human Services can provide referrals to feeding sites or food banks as well. There are a number of pantries and soup kitchens in the area that people can turn to. Both fresh and non-perishable food may be passed out to those in an emergency.

Cash assistance is available from the publicly funded TANF. Also known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, those that are enrolled will receive a monthly cash payment from DHS. This was created by the federal government to be short term only, so applicants need to enroll into Employment programs.

TANF applicants must provide proof of income, birth records for any children, verification of residence, provide names of those living in the home, and proof of any child care expenses. The social workers may ask for more information as well, at their discretion. While it is short term public aid only, after TANF benefits end, a family may request up to 12 months of additional support. The county may arrange government aid for paying child care needs, transportation and medical assistance.

Other similar financial resources in Ingham County include payments from SSI disability or funeral expense reimbursement. Any of this grant programs are very limited, but case workers from DHS will do their best to offer support.





Publicly funded medical assistance is available too. These will also range from government programs, such as Medicaid, to referrals to clinics or low cost providers.

Medicaid applications can be processed. These will pay for a portion of a very low income or disabled families health care costs. Only certain doctors can be used. If all conditions are met, the state can arrange for medical and dental care, assistance with basic needs and hygiene items, counseling, respite care, or immunizations.

Dental services can also be part of that medical service. Whether from local community clinics, or paid for by Medicaid, low income families can access dentists, hygienists and assistants that provide preventive and restorative care. Patients from Ingham County Michigan may benefit from digital x-rays, cleaning, fillings, exams, crowns, extractions, and assistance with dentures.

Those are just some of the public aid services available by Ingham County DHS. Social workers will offer very low income families other resources as well. All clients are screened for eligibility and will need to provide proof of income and other information.

The main information line can be called at 517-887-9400. Or stop by 5303 S. Cedar St., Lansing, Michigan 48911.



By Jon McNamara

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