Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services outlines the requirements in its application brochure and on the DHA website. Standards include:
- You qualify as disabled.
- You must live in Michigan, and you can't be receiving cash aid from any other state.
- You must be either a U.S. citizen or have the legal right to live in Michigan.
- You can't have more than $3,000 in cash assets at time of writing. Cash assets include bank accounts, cash on hand, retirement accounts and trusts.
- Your income, including wages, self-employment income and Social Security benefits, falls under the SDA cut-off.
To qualify as disabled, you must be receiving disability-related benefits, or residing in a special home, such as a licensed adult foster-care facility. Alternatively, you can undergo an exam by DHS consultants. If the consultant certifies you can't work for at least 90 days due to your disability, you're in.
The Michigan Legal Help website says your income is limited to $200 a month if you're single, $315 for a couple.
A caregiver living with and caring for a disabled resident or a non-disabled senior may qualify for SDA if she doesn't qualify for Michigan's Family Independence Program.
Applying for Help
In addition to applying through the website, you also can apply at your local DHS office. The department has a list of local offices online. You can hand-deliver an application, fill one out there or mail or fax it in. The application brochure includes a copy of the form. To complete it you'll have to enter detailed information about the number of people in the family, their ages, the family income and your expenses. State law says you're entitled to hear back within 60 days of submitting your application.
The DHS will ask you to verify your information. You can submit copies of verifying documents with your application. If the department needs something more, it will contact you and usually give you 10 days to provide it. Documents should be current within the 30 days before you apply.
- Identification documents.
- Social Security numbers
- Your current income.
- Bank account statements, investment account balances and other proof of assets.
- Receipts or checks for mortgage payments, utility bills, rent and other shelter expenses.
A graduate of Oberlin College, Fraser Sherman began writing in 1981. Since then he's researched and written newspaper and magazine stories on city government, court cases, business, real estate and finance, the uses of new technologies and film history. Sherman has worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter, and his magazine articles have been published in "Newsweek," "Air & Space," "Backpacker" and "Boys' Life." Sherman is also the author of three film reference books, with a fourth currently under way.