Being a mother is a challenge in itself but when raising a child falls squarely on one parent alone, it becomes a struggle.
Although the numbers of single mothers have decreased slightly in Michigan during the last decade, their problems are still a source of growing concern.
The state of Michigan offers support in a variety of ways — from cash and food benefits to child care and medical assistance.
The aim is to provide the neediest families with the necessary safety net during times of hardship.
The EITC is a proven effective anti-poverty tool that rewards work and helps low-income families make ends meet. Michigan supplements the federal EITC with a modest state credit equal to 6% of the federal allocation.
The statewide average credit was $143, with families raising at least two children receiving a bigger benefit. It is, however, much less than it was in 2011 when the state EIC was equal to 20%.01
To claim both the federal and Michigan’s EIC, you must first file a tax return — even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to do so because you had too little income.
The Family Independence Program (FIP) provides cash assistance to low-income families with minor children as well as pregnant women. It is designed to help low-income Michigan families become self-supporting.
Under current Michigan law, you cannot receive FIP for more than 48 months in your lifetime. When eligible, deposits will be made to your EBT account — known as Michigan Bridge Card — twice per month.
Go to MI Bridges to find out if you’re eligible to apply for FIP. In addition to cash assistance, Michigan’s DHS also offers child care, food or state emergency relief assistance.
The Food Assistance Program is a joint initiative between the U.S Department of Agriculture and the State of Michigan’s DHS that aims to help low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled buy an adequate supply of nutritious food.
Those who have less than $150 per month in income and no more than $100 in resources may get their first FAP benefits within 7 days after they apply. This is called an expedited issuance.02
Requests can be made in person at the local DHS county office or use MI Bridges to apply for assistance, check your eligibility status and manage your account online.
WIC serves Michigan’s pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, and infants and children up to age 5 who meet WIC eligibility guidelines; and are considered to be “at nutritional risk”.
It provides special checks or vouchers for buying healthy foods to supplement their diet. Other benefits include nutrition education, breastfeeding support, free screening and referral to health care.
For information about your local WIC agency and how to apply
Call 1-800-26-BIRTH or 1-800-262-4784
Medicaid is the largest program providing medical and health-related services to Michigan’s poorest people — mostly uninsured children under age 19, pregnant women, disabled adults, and the elderly.
As Michigan is expanding Medicaid coverage, Healthy Michigan Plan is now available to all adults age between 19-64 with income up to 133% of the federal poverty level (FPL).
If you think you might be eligible, apply today and see if you qualify. Choose from one of the following options to apply.
- Apply online at MI Bridges
- Call the Michigan Health Care Helpline at 1-855-789-5610
- Visit your local Department of Human Services office
MIChild is a health care program for the low income uninsured children of Michigan’s working families under age 19. There is a $10 monthly premium for all of the children in one family. No co-pay or deductibles!
Healthy Kids is a program for pregnant women, babies and children under 19. Healthy Kids is FREE except for small co-pays for some services if you are age 21 or older.
To find out if you or your children qualify for MIChild or Healthy Kids, apply online at MI Bridges or call MIChild/Healthy Kids at 1-888-988-6300.
The Child Development and Care (CDC) Program in Michigan offers payment assistance for child care services for low-income families who need help paying for child care.
Michigan has among the lowest income eligibility limit to qualify for child care assistance of all states — 128% of poverty or 38% of state median income, and offers among the lowest reimbursement to providers for care.
Eligible families that qualify for the CDC program can choose their own child care provider. The state pays a portion of the cost of child care; while the parent is responsible to pay a co-payment to the provider each month.
Use the following Income Eligibility Chart to determine if you may be income eligible. If you think you’re eligible for assistance, you may apply online through MI Bridges.
Head Start is a national school readiness program that provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services for low-income pre school children ages 3 to 5.
Early Head Start is open to children under 3 years old in low-income families, while children 3 to 5 years old participate in Head Start. Pregnant women may also be eligible for Early Head Start.
If you need help determining if your child is eligible, please call Head Start at (517) 373-6472 to find a program near you.03 There are 90 Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Michigan.
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) are federally funded programs that assist schools and other agencies in providing nutritious meals at reasonable prices to children whose families meet income eligibility requirements.
If you are a SNAP recipient and qualify for reemployment compensation, your child qualifies for free school meals. Children who are migrant, runaway, foster, or homeless are automatically eligible.
For the most current information, please contact
School Nutrition Program Office
MSHDA administers approximately 28,000 Housing Choice Vouchers that provides rent subsidies for very low income people who find their own housing in private homes and apartment buildings.
To be eligible, your gross income must not exceed the income limits for the county in which you live. If you are accepted into the program, the amount you pay for rent and utilities may vary, but generally your portion will not exceed 40% of your income.
Applications are only accepted for open waiting lists and are available online only; no paper applications will be available or accepted. Preference will be given to those living or working in the county selected.
Participants in the program may also qualify for other opportunities such as the Family Self-Sufficiency and Key to Own Homeownership programs.
LIHEAP is federal money given to each state to assist low-income families with energy costs. In Michigan, the LIHEAP grant is used for the following programs:
Home Heating CreditThe Home Heating Credit is available to all low-income households. The Michigan Department of Treasury determines eligibility and makes the payments. eFile your claim at www.MIfastfile.org before September 30 deadline.
State Emergency Relief (SER)State Emergency Relief is a crisis intervention program that provides emergency assistance to households who are in immediate danger of being without heat. Available from November 1 to March 31 via MI Bridges.
Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)Michigan’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) provides free home energy conservation services to low-income Michigan homeowners and renters. Contact your local Weatherization Operator to get started.04
In some cases, if you have received a Home Heating Credit of more than $20 in the current month or any of the previous 12 months, you’ll likely be entitled to an increase in the monthly amount of food assistance.
Unemployment insurance benefits provide temporary financial assistance to workers unemployed through no fault of their own that meet Michigan’s eligibility requirements.
Those who file for a new claim may be entitled to up to 20 weeks of state unemployment benefits and are required by the state law to actively seek work each week that they file a claim for benefits.
Michigan Tuition Grant (MTG) is available to undergraduate students and is based on financial need for use at non-profit colleges and universities in Michigan.
Awards are restricted to tuition and mandatory fees — up to a maximum of $2,800 per academic year, subject to available and approved funding. For priority consideration, submit your application by March 1 deadline.
For more information, contact the Michigan Tuition Grant program,
Student Scholarships and Grants (SSG)
- Michigan League for Public Policy, Impact of Michigan’s EITC
- What is the income limit for food stamps in Michigan?
- Head Start Program Locator
- Click on Map to list Local Weatherization Operators
- Michigan’s Automated Response Voice Interactive Network: Available Monday through Saturday between 8:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. Eastern Time.