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Public assistance and government aid Michigan.

Find public assistance programs in Michigan, including food stamps from FAP, free cash programs, SER relief, Healthcare Coverage from Medicaid, and more. Government agencies focus on providing low income families, seniors, and the disabled with social services as well as financial assistance to help them pay for critical bills and expenses.

The Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) as well as the Bridge website portal (find details below) will help ensure people apply for benefits. Low income and/or struggling families can get help from from SER (State Emergency Relief) to food stamps or free daycare and other public aid. The government programs will also help families gain long term self-sufficiency by helping them find a job, improve their skills, and improve their overall financial condition. Find more information below, including county wide public aid for Michigan residents.

Cash assistance and financial aid from DHS in Michigan

Michigan State Disability Assistance (SDA) - This component can offer cash assistance for disabled adults who do not have dependent children. Funds can pay for basic needs like rent, housing, and medical costs and bills. In order to receive help, your income, type of disability and total household assets must be evaluated for the disability program. There are also other disability assistance programs in Michigan.

Family Independence Program (FIP) - Pregnant women and/or low income families with children can receive grants and cash assistance for paying for basic needs from this public funded government program. The primary intent of the Family Independence Program is to offer families temporary cash assistance for bills and expenses while they work toward self-sufficiency by gaining skills or employment. Many of these services focus specifically on the welfare of families with children - their health, medical care, education and development. This Michigan public assistance program can oftentimes be referred to by its federal government name of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Eligible non-citizens who do not qualify for assistance from the Michigan Family Independence Program may be able to receive emergency cash from the Refugee Assistance Program (RAP). Both medical services and temporary cash can be distributed.




Federal government supported Social Security Disability program is also offered by Department of Human Services. This resource provides health benefits and financial help to persons with severe disabilities whose impairments prevent them from either finding a job or performing gainful work. The MI Bridges website portal can help applicants determine if they are qualified or not. So people who can’t work or are impacted from a disability can get help paying bills, housing, and other expenses.

Supplemental Security Income - The state of Michigan provides cash grants and financial assistance to people who are blind, aged, or disabled. The funds for SSI come from federal government sources and not the state of Michigan. Applications and the overall program is administered through the Social Security Administration.

The Michigan Department of Human Services runs the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This was created to help eligible low-income households and individuals meet the high cost of home heating bills and utilities. The program is funded by public dollars, but aid is usually distributed by private organizations like your community action agency.

Department of Human Services in Michigan also provides medical assistance. The primary program is Medicaid, which can help low income households, the disabled, people over the age of 65 and others get the medical care they need. Medicaid can also pay for nursing home or in-home care for the disable or elderly. It is a form of public assistance that in effect provides insurance to low income families. Eligibility and applications for the Michigan medical assistance programs (Medicaid, Medicare, etc.) can also be found at a local DHS offices or online at the Bridges website.





Financial help for Child Care - The state of Michigan DHS' Child Development and Care Program may provide cash payment for child care expenses. Services are provided for qualifying families when the parent, substitute parent, or legal guardian is unavailable to provide or pay for that child care. Federal government funds pay for this public assistance program and only a small number of applications for day care subsidies can be fulfilled. More information on free daycare in Michigan.

The State of Michigan Emergency Relief (SER) Program provides emergency financial help to individuals and families facing emergencies which threaten health and safety. Public government funds can pay for expenses such as rent if faced with an eviction, heating bills, medications, and other emergency expenses. There are also workshops and resources for how to make money using apps on a smart phone, as with changing technology there are more services out there.

Energy Assistance Program - Designed by the federal government to offer public cash assistance to help pay the cost of home heating and even air conditioning bills. Financial assistance may be provided to seniors and/or low-income households who meet eligibility requirements when their electric or heating service has been disconnected or will be shut off.

Housing assistance from Michigan Emergency Relief (SER) may be offered for the following.

  • Home Repairs. The agency may be able to assist with providing home repairs to correct unsafe conditions and restore essential services. Eligible home repairs may include replacement or repair of a nonfunctioning septic systems, furnace, or hot water heater.
  • Home Ownership Services may help prevent loss of a home from foreclosure counseling, funds for paying rent or mortgage, or general case management.
  • If someone does need to leave their home, relocation assistance may be provided. This may include providing money for paying rent, security deposits, rent arrearage, and moving expenses for families and individuals.

Funeral Costs and Burial Services are available in Michigan. Department of Human Services can provide public funds to assist with paying for burial costs when the decedent's estate, mandatory copayments, etc. are not sufficient to pay for cremation, burial, caskets or other specified costs.

Michigan food assistance from Department of Human Services

Michigan Food Assistance Program (FAP) - This is in effect the public Food Stamp program (SNAP) in Michigan. The government provides free or low cost food and vouchers to lower income residents. Qualified families pay for groceries using an EBT card.

The DHS program can also be referred to as food stamps. Individuals will need to use a debit type card to pay for their groceries at their local supermarket or store. The public Food Assistance Program (FAP) helps low income families, the elderly, or disabled get the groceries and nutrition they need. SNAP supplements the food purchasing power of low-income families and individuals.

Michigan's Coordinated Access to Food for the Elderly (MiCAFE) - This resource helps senior citizens and older adults (age 60 and older) apply for a Bridge card to pay for groceries and food. The intent is to free up money so that seniors can afford other essential items like medicine or their energy bills.

Michigan Project FRESH - Farm Market Produce is similar to the WIC program. Project FRESH is public Michigan initiative to provide nutritious, fresh, unprepared foods (such as vegetables and fruits) from farmers' markets to children, women, and infants who are nutritionally at risk and who need aid.

The state also has information on a number of Food Pantries that are open to the public. The Food Bank Council of Michigan is a statewide non-profit charitable organization that works with food banks. They help them stock their shelves, and refer individuals to the centers for groceries and meals, or even items like clothing.





Food for children and teenagers is offered from the Commodities for Schools and Institutions. This is one of USDA's nutrition assistance programs. A number of institutions and Schools across Michigan participate in the School Breakfast Program as well as the National School Lunch Program. Eligible institutions that are participating in the Nutrition Program for the Elderly may receive USDA-donated commodity fruits, meats, vegetables, grains, and dairy products.

The homebound can call upon Meals On Wheels. This is a private, non-profit, volunteer-based service that delivers nutritious meals to seniors and/or other homebound persons.

How to apply for public assistance from DHS or Bridges in Michigan

Some counties are below. These are other public assistance programs are offered by Department of Human Services and they can be applied to on the Bridges website. Or call 1-855-275-6424. A representative will review with your options, including Cash Assistance, Medical Services, Food Assistance from SNAP, and Emergency Relief Programs.

Genesee County

Ingham County

Kalamazoo County

Kent County

Macomb County

Oakland County

Wayne County


By Jon McNamara

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