While we are not affiliated with the government in any way, our private company engaged writers to research the LIHEAP program and compiled a guide and the following answers to frequently asked questions. Our goal is to help you get the benefits that you need by providing useful information on the process.
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The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides financial assistance to low-income families. The goal of TANF is to help families become financially self-sufficient. States and U.S. Territories receive block grants from the federal government, which are used to fund each state and territory’s specific TANF program.
Learn more about the TANF program and its primary purposes here.
In Michigan, the TANF program is known as the Family Independence Program. To learn more about the Family Independence Program and the assistance benefits it provides, visit the Michigan assistance website here.
The Family Independence Program provides temporary assistance to financially support families in need. The program also provides eligible families with work preparation services to help them re-enter the workforce or find more stable employment.
For more information on the services the Family Independence Program provides to participating families, review the Michigan assistance website found here.
The Family Independence Program and Food Assistance are both assistance programs administered by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. While Food Assistance benefits can only be used to purchase foods that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Family Independence Program benefits are money that can be used however the participant sees fit, with some restrictions.
To learn more about the restrictions on the Family Independence Program expenditures, visit the How to Use Your Michigan Bridge Card booklet here.
Both the Family Independence Program and Food Assistance benefits can be given to participants on an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card. In Michigan, EBT cards are referred to as a Michigan Bridge Card.
Many Family Independence Program participants also qualify for Food Assistance due to the low-income requirement of both programs. For more information about Food Assistance, click here.
To apply for Food Assistance and/or the Family Independence Program, visit MI Bridges here.
If you have questions about the Family Independence Program or Food Assistance, call the Department of Health and Human Services at 1 (517) 241-3740.
The exact benefit amount a family will receive each month will depend on their household income, size and resources. Families can receive these benefits for up to 60 months throughout their lifetime.
To qualify for the Family Independence Program in Michigan, you must meet the following requirements:
To learn more about who can receive Family Independence Program benefits, click here.
Before you apply for the Family Independence Program in Michigan, complete the following three steps:
Learn about the Family Independence Program eligibility requirements here.
Find a list of what you need to apply on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website here.
To apply for the Family Independence Program online, create an account on MI Bridges here and fill out the virtual application form.
To apply for the Family Independence Program in person, click here to find the nearest Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) office location.
To apply for the Family Independence Program by fax, fill out the Assistance Application found here and send it with copies of your necessary documents to your local DHHS office.
To apply for the Family Independence Program by mail, fill out the Assistance Application and send it with copies of your necessary documents to your local DHHS office.
If you have any further questions about the application process, call the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at 1 (517) 241-3740.
Depending on your method of application, you can check your application status in the following ways:
You should receive a notice in the mail from the Department of Health and Human Services within 45 days of receiving your application with your determination, EBT card, your benefit amount and how you will be receiving the benefits, if you are approved. During this time you will be asked to complete an eligibility interview with a caseworker that will be assigned to your family.
Once you receive your benefits, you can use them to support your family as you see fit, while following the restrictions.
Learn more information about how to use your EBT card and how benefits will be distributed here.
If you require additional assistance or have questions about your determination call 1 (517) 241-3740.
If you do not agree with the Family Independence Program benefit decision given to you by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, you can appeal your decision after receiving your determination letter.
To file an appeal, you must contact your caseworker to discuss the reason for your denial and to request an appeal. Most hearing requests will require to submit an appeal form in writing. Ask your caseworker for more information about the appeals process and hearing rules.
For help with obtaining Family Independence Program benefits in Michigan, or for any further questions about your application, call the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at 1 (517) 241-3740.
You can also visit or call a local Department of Health and Human Services office for further assistance. Find your nearest location here.
Offices and services are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
While we are not affiliated with the government in any way, our private company engaged writers to research the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and compiled a guide and these answers to frequently asked questions. Our goal is to help you get the benefits that you need by providing useful information on the process.
Our free TANF Guide is filled with helpful information about how to apply, program eligibility requirements and how to get in touch with local offices. You can view our free guide here.