The state of Michigan has been hard hit during this recession with the unemployment rate hovering at 11.2%, higher than national average of 9.2% as of August 2011. Low income families and single mothers looking for financial aid has increased exponentially as jobs are hard to come by. Single moms have been especially hit hard because they rely on single incomes to finance their living while providing quality care for their children. Fortunately, financial aid is available to such people through food stamps in Michigan, subsidized housing from Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Medicaid for low income families and child care assistance. In this article, we will overview each of these programs, provide eligibility requirements and links to websites where you can download application forms and submit.
Food stamps program in Michigan is administered by the Department of Human services and provides cash money to low income families and single moms so they can purchase healthy nutritious food for their families. Monthly cash benefits are loaded on the Bridge card that can be redeemed at major supermarkets and grocery stores around the state. Items that can be purchased include fruits & veggies, meat, fish & poultry. Food stamp benefits cannot be used to purchase personal hygiene products, toiletries, tobacco, alcohol or vitamins. Eligibility for food stamps depends on gross income of households and all recipients must live in Michigan and be citizens of the United States or qualified aliens. Certain expenses such as housing and childcare costs are deducted from your gross income to determine eligibility for food stamps. Would you like to find out if you are eligible for food stamps? Use this online tool http://calculator.foodstamphelp.org It will ask your age, household size and members, gross incomes including rental income, unemployment benefits or social security checks, etc. Applications for food stamp benefits must be sent by fax or mail and a copy can be received by visiting a local DHS office in Michigan, you will find them on http://www.michigan.gov/dhs
The department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides rental assistance to low income tenants and single moms. How it works is a single moms finds an apartment building she would like to live in and directly applies to that management's office. The landlord will then offer her living at the apartment at a reduced rent while HUD pays the remaining difference to the landlord. This form of housing is called subsidized apartments and you can search for the one closest to your country using this tool www.hud.gov/apps/section8/step2.cfm?state=MI,Michigan You can search for subsidized apartments by City, County, Zip code, property type and # of bedrooms. As an example, I searched for subsidized apartments in the County of Bridgman and here is what I got:
Medicaid in Michigan is provided to single moms and low income families under the LIF (Low Income Family) program. Medicaid pays for essential health services such as hospital visits, prescriptions, dental & vision care, emergencies, pregnancies, etc. Eligibility under this program requires recipients to be citizens of the US or qualified aliens, must be living in the state of Michigan and meet asset/income requirements. Pregnant women and single moms who have children under 18 years of age can qualify their children for the Healthy Kids Medicaid program which has no premiums and there is only 1 income test. To apply for any Medicaid coverage in Michigan, you can visit this online application tool https://healthcare4mi.com/michild-web/ It provides a neat overview of all Medicaid programs available for pregnant mothers and children under 18 years as well as low income families. The tool will ask you questions about your household size, how many family members, their incomes and eligible expenses for deduction.