Category: Government Benefits and Programs
Benefits are payable for eligible applicants in five (5) broad areas:
Eligibility Requirements for State Emergency Relief (SER)
The State of Michigan provides this temporary assistance through a network of contracts with local community organizations including the Salvation Army and Community Action Agencies (CAA). Applicants Do Not need to be participants or recipients of other MDHHS benefits to be approved for SER emergency assistance.
Approval for service and benefits must meet three (3) conditions:
Scenarios covered under the State Emergency Relief (SER) program:
State Emergency Relief (SER) funds will not be issued unless the household has "good cause" for not making the payments. "Good cause" means household income was below a specified amount, or if available monies in the household were not used to make payments during the time shelter or utility costs were unpaid and led to the emergency. See the chart below of Household Income Limits for Energy and Non-Related Energy Assistance.
State Emergency Relief (SER) will make assistance payments toward a burial or cremation when the deceased person's estate and contributions are not sufficient. A relative or representative with legal rights to arrange the burial must apply for assistance within ten (10) days of the burial or cremation. The family member or representative arranging the burial should inform the funeral home that public assistance will be requested. They may be able to assist with the application process.
State Emergency Relief (SER) assistance may be approved to:
Rent Assistance and Foreclosure Prevention
State Emergency Relief (SER) assistance payments are available to prevent the loss of a home due to foreclosure, a land contract forfeiture, the loss of a mobile home, and the non-payment of rent. Property taxes may be paid to stop a tax sale when a foreclosure hearing has been scheduled.
State Emergency Relief (SER) funds are available for home repairs to correct unsafe conditions or to restore essential services such as water, water disposal, heat, or electricity. Eligible home repairs may include but are not limited to: replacement of a non-functioning furnace, hot water heaters, or septic systems.
Qualifying households are eligible for payment toward service repairs under the following conditions:
A household may be approved for home repair services under the following conditions:
Home improvements and non-essential repairs do not qualify for the SER benefit.
Maximum Benefit Allowances for Home Repairs
Energy-Related Furnace Repairs:
Non-Energy Related Repairs
State Emergency Relief (SER) will make a one-time annual (once per year) payment to prevent shut-offs, or restore heat, electric, or water service.
Migrant families with children may have the cost of hospitalization covered under State Emergency Relief (SER), within certain limits, for up to thirty (30) days in a one-year period.
State Emergency Relief (SER) is a means-tested program. That is, household size, income, and countable assets valued over $50 are assessed to determine eligibility for benefits. It also means that the income-test may affect the benefit amount and that a copayment may be required towards the benefit amount paid. Assets such as a homestead (a home you own and occupy), one (1) vehicle, personal and household goods are excluded. Applicants requesting burial assistance are exempt from the asset-test.
It should be noted that all household income for all household members expected to be received within the thirty (30) day period from the SER application is used to determine eligibility.
Follow the income limit charts below for energy and non-energy assistance. The income limit is based on the number of people in the household. Applicants will be charged a copayment (out-of-pocket expense) for any income above the amount listed to help pay for the emergency need. Any required copayment must be paid within the thirty (30) day approval period.
A household with more than $50 in cash assets must pay the amount over $50 toward the emergency. The payment must be made within the thirty (30) day approval period.
Cash assets include:
The value of non-cash assets (e.g. a boat or second vehicle) cannot exceed the following limits:
SER Income Limits for Energy Assistance
Households with monthly incomes above the amounts listed are not eligible for energy-related assistance.
SER Income Limits for Non-Energy Related Assistance
Income that exceeds the above limits will be assessed as a copayment towards eligible benefits.
Source: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)
How to Apply for State Emergency Relief (SER)
The best way to apply for State Emergency Relief (SER) funds is to print the online application, fill it out completely, attach any supporting documents, and turn it in to a local Department of Human Services (DHS) office. By hand-delivering the application there is an opportunity to explain your situation to a DHS benefits specialist. Benefits are approved at the discretion of the DHS Benefits Specialist. A link is provided below to the SER application. You can also apply for benefits online at the MI Bridges website or request that the application be mailed to you. You will receive a response within ten (10) days.
Applicants must complete the DHS-1514 (Application for State Emergency Relief) form. Applicants may be required to apply for other qualifying benefits by completing the following forms to be placed on file:
Applications must provide proof of the immediate need for utility bill payment assistance (e.g. past due or shut-off notice, a court documented eviction notice) or verified need for deliverable fuel (e.g. fuel oil), and energy-related home repairs.
Applicants are not required to complete a new application for additional services requested within the thirty (30) day approval period of the original application.
Applicants have the right to request a hearing for any action, failure to act,, or undue delay in application processing by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
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Welcome to The Community Advocate Network. My name is Deborah Mitchell, I am a graduate in Social Work and Registered Social Work Technician. My human service background began in 2007 which includes medical case management and service navigation for the indigent population, outpatient mental health counseling with substance use and abuse disorders, supportive employment and job development for mental health consumers, and structured living domicile management.