By Grace DeRose-Wilson, Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan
Michigan’s Coordinated Access to Food for the Elderly (MiCAFE) is a program of Elder Law of Michigan that helps potentially eligible older adults and individuals with disabilities access and apply for public benefits through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). MiCAFE also partners with community organizations throughout Michigan to help meet the needs of their clients.
Ms. B was in the hospital when her electricity got turned off. She needed almost $3000 to get caught up and the electricity turned on in her home. Ms. B was in contact with a local organization that happened to be a MiCAFE Network Partner. The Application Assistant at this MiCAFE Network Partner site helped Ms. B apply for State Emergency Relief (SER) for her electric bill. Ms. B was approved for SER but had a large copay which she could not cover. The application assistant at MiCAFE’s partner site worked with The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) to help Ms. B find a way to get her copay covered. THAW agreed to pay the remainder of Ms. B’s electric bill but needed a copy of Ms. B’s SER determination from MDHHS before they could pay.
The Application Assistant at MiCAFE’s partner site contacted a MiCAFE Network Specialist to see if MiCAFE could help. The MiCAFE Network specialist reached out to MiCAFE’s in-house MDHHS caseworker to see if she could reprint Ms. B’s SER determination letter. MiCAFE’s MDHHS caseworker contacted Ms. B’s caseworker, and within one hour received permission to reprint Ms. B’s SER determination letter. The MiCAFE Network Specialist emailed Ms. B’s SER determination to the MiCAFE partner organization.
The THAW office is in the same building as the MiCAFE partner organization so the Application Assistant helping Ms. B was able to take Ms. B’s SER determination letter directly to THAW as soon as it was received. Through a team effort between Ms. B, MiCAFE, the MiCAFE partner organization, MDHHS, and THAW, Ms. B was able to get her electricity turned back on and caught up on her electric bill by the time she got discharged from the hospital.
If you need help applying for benefits through MDHHS, renewing benefits, turning in documents, or if you are part of an organization that would like to become a MiCAFE Network Partner, call MiCAFE at 877.664.2233.
Grace DeRose-Wilson is a Screening Integration Coordinator for MiCAFE at Elder Law of Michigan and has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since November 2018. As a Screening Integration Coordinator, Grace helps Michigan seniors navigate the benefits application process, and helps raise awareness of benefits through community outreach events.