Rhonda is a recent client of the MiCAFE network, a program of Elder Law of Michigan. The MiCAFE network is a community partner network of over 130 organizations and locations across Michigan, including local community centers, churches, senior centers, and housing complexes, which assists seniors 60 and older in accessing benefits through application assistance.
Struggling to make ends meet, Rhonda called the MiCAFE network to receive a benefits screening. She was screened eligible for several benefits and set up with an appointment to apply for these benefits. Several weeks later, Rhonda called the MiCAFE Call Center to inform us that she had received a letter from her local DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) office. Her application for food assistance benefits had been denied.
Based on Rhonda’s reported income, it appeared there had been a mistake in her eligibility determination. So MiCAFE team member Sheila Robison began looking further into her case. Many of the clients we serve need ongoing support to resolve issues found with their benefits applications and to ensure they receive the maximum benefit to which they are entitled. After looking into her case, Sheila found an outdated source of income had been used for her benefit determination. Rhonda had been wrongfully denied for food assistance based on this erroneous income calculation.
To reduce Rhonda’s burden, Sheila contacted DHHS on her behalf and asked them to reevaluate the case using the updated income in lieu of Rhonda going through the application process again. DHHS agreed, and Sheila provided the necessary documentation to verify the correct income amount. DHHS reprocessed the application and sent Rhonda a new determination letter approving her for food assistance benefits. Additionally, Rhonda’s benefits have been prorated for the time period she went without benefits due to the erroneous income calculation.
Rhonda is thrilled to have her Bridge Card. She contacted MiCAFE after she received her approval letter to say she “owes it all to us, that we went above & beyond for her.” She says it will “buy her milk for a month!”
MiCAFE, a program of Elder Law of Michigan, Inc., helps individuals apply for benefits that meet their basic needs including food, utilities, housing, medical assistance, and prescriptions. More information about MiCAFE can be found at www.micafenetwork.org.