Michigan Benefits Access (MBA) and MI Bridges Introduction Presented by: Michigan Association of United Ways
Public-Private Partnership • A statewide stakeholder group of 40 nonprofits and state agencies researched innovative strategies for a streamlined benefits delivery system. • Both government officials and nonprofit leaders moved towards parallel plans to create an easy-to-access, online, benefit application and delivery system coupled with nonprofit outreach. • Multiple private foundations provided funding to develop the technology and bolster the outreach and education.
Michigan Benefits Access Vision Courtesy of MDHS
MBA Outreach Resources DHS Community Resource Coordinators able to provide information about MI Bridges and opportunities for training AmeriCorps members are serving as MBA Community Resource Navigators throughout Michigan. Members provide: • Direct client application assistance • Assist in coordinating training events • Share benefits of MI Bridges with CBOs Food Bank Outreach workers directly help people complete food assistance applications statewide MBA Website – www.mibenefitsaccess.org – source for MBA outreach materials and best practices
Department of Human Services Benefit Programs Food Assistance Program (FAP) State Emergency Relief (SER) - Energy and Non-Energy Assistance Medical Assistance (MA) Child Development Care (CDC) Family Independence Program (FIP), State Disability Assistance (SDA), Refugee Assistance - Cash Assistance 6
MI Bridges Is: 24-hour secure internet portal to DHS benefit applications – www.michigan.gov/mibridges Directly linked to MDHS internal Bridges system for application processing Developed and maintained by the Michigan Department of Human Services Allows households to create an account to apply for benefits, check case status, and recertify all online
MI Bridges – What Can You Do? • Apply for Food Assistance, Medical Assistance, Childcare, Cash Assistance, Energy Assistance, and Non-Energy State Emergency Relief • View All Program Status – Allow the case owner (head of household) to view benefit status online • Access Control – Allow the case owner (head of household) to grant case viewing permissions online to any case member • Correspondence – Allow recipients to view their correspondence electronically • Electronic Notification – Allow recipients to receive emails and text when new correspondence is generated • Increased benefit history view – Allow recipients to view two months prior, current and future month benefit status 1-888-MIBRIDGES www.michigan.gov/mibridges 1-888-642-7434 Courtesy of MDHS
MI Bridges – What Can You Do Continued • Upload Documents – Allows applicants and benefit recipients to upload and attach documents for verification into MI Bridges • Report Changes for Food Assistance, Medical Assistance, Childcare, Cash Assistance, Energy Assistance, and Non-Energy State Emergency Relief • Save applications without submitting for up to 12 months. • Renew Benefits –Allow recipients to complete semi-annual and annual redeterminations • Available in English, Spanish, and Arabic – MI Bridges application and correspondence will be available in Arabic, English, and Spanish Courtesy of MDHS
Uploading Documents Before uploading, clients must scan and save their documents to a computer or flash drive. Here are two examples of scanners. Office scanner/printer combo Desktop flatbed scanner Courtesy of MDHS
Types of Document Proof • Identity and citizenship status • Income – for last 30 days • Housing and utility cost • Of why you or your children are without support • Information on absent relative who should be providing support • Property owned • Medical Bills – for persons over 65 and people with disabilities • Assets
Self-Service Processing Centers (SSPC) • West SSPC • 5321 28th St Court SE • Grand Rapids, MI 49546 • 1-877-522-8050 (phone) • 1-877-522-8055 (fax) • Central SSPC • 7109 W Saginaw Highway • 1st Floor • Lansing, MI 48917 • 1-877-416-4227 (phone) • 1-517-241-8642 (fax) • East SSPC • PO Box 33240 • Detroit, MI 48232-9829 • 1-877-274-9099 (phone) • 1-877-274-9094 (fax) • DHS-Self-Service-Processing-Center@Michigan.gov
Becoming a MI BridgesCommunity Partner Michigan Benefits Access
What is a MI Bridges Community Partner? • An agency in Michigan that registers in MI Bridges to help Michigan residents apply online for benefits by providing a computer or one-on-one assistance with applications • .
Levels of Engagement Put up promotional materials in your sites to let your patients know MI Bridges is available and what it does Provide a convenient location and access to a computer for community residents to apply or check their benefits status online “Man” your computer access location with staff or volunteers that clients can call on when they get stuck or need help Use your training on MI Bridges navigation to directly assist customers applying online
Why Register as a MI Bridges Community Partner? Direct link to State of Michigan for information and support • Known impact –you'll get an agency number and a pass code that is used to track applications submitted through your organization Assisting DHS to learn more about how the online application is being used and ways to improve Places you in community with other organizations to access best practices and shared benefits from cross promotion of programs 4
Current Method to Register as Community Partner Step 1 – Select “Community Partners Login”
Step 3 – Answer asterisk fields, save secret question and passcode to make changes to registered information.
Registered: Use one Agency Number per organization or site – Shared by all staff at same location.
Step 4 – Enter Agency Number for each application assisted by your staff or completed on a computer owned by your agency. Must enter agency number for each application or will not be counted as coming from your agency.
New Community Partner Registration Process Coming Soon from MDHS • Register now to begin using Agency ID when assisting applicants/recipients. • Existing organizations with MI Bridges Agency Number will be notified by MDHS when new process and criteria is available. • Partners will be responsible for “renewing” their community partner status periodically.
Consumer Protection Michigan Benefits Access
Background Check Required • All staff volunteering to directly assist applicants use MI Bridges should undergo a background check through employer. • Depending on the population served, background checks may include: • Michigan State Police Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT) • State and National Sex-Offender Registries • Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry
Explain your Role Immediately You are NOT a Michigan Department of Human Services case manager – You are a staff or volunteer of an agency. You are NOTan authorized agent for the individual applying for benefits. You are NOT a policy expert on MDHS applications – Policy questions should be asked of MDHS case managers. You are NOTresponsible for the applicants approval or denial of benefits - All decisions are made by MDHS. 6
Empower Applicant to Prevent Fraud • Keep user name and password private. • Everyone has the right to complete the application themselves. • All applicants have rights and responsibilities as a DHS benefit applicant. • All applicants have rights to privacy and confidentially.
Empower Applicant continued • Scanned documentation should be deleted from benefit site computers after each appointment. • Applicant should never pay someone to complete a DHS benefit application. • Regularly check the status of application through MI Bridges. • Contact DHS case worker directly for specific process questions.
Creating a MI Bridges Account User ID and Password for Login Presented by: Michigan Association of United Ways
Create An Account in MI Bridges • To create an account in MI Bridges a person must either: • Apply for Benefits - First time applying for any Department of Human Services public benefit program • Or • 2. View My Case – If individual has open benefit case with Michigan Department of Human Services
Clients may click here to access the Michigan Assistance and Referral Service (MARS) to see if they would be eligible for benefits before filling out the online application ↓ Clients may click here to create an account and apply for benefits whether it be for the first time, or adding a program or to reapply ↓ Clients may click here to view their benefits, report changes to their worker, upload documents and check the status of an application ↓ MiBridges Basics
User ID and Password Creation Tips: 1. User ID and password should be created by the applicant not the volunteer • When possible, have applicant write down user name and password exactly as they want them entered for privacy • 2. User ID must include only letters and/or numbers – no special characters • 5 to 16 characters • 3. Password is case sensitive – 8 to 20 characters • 4. Password cannot include the first or last name of applicant • 5. Cannot have user ID of another applicant - must be unique • 6. Select two secret questions to suggest to applicant • Write down answers immediately
Clients may select this radio button to create a new account and then complete the online application Notice the other selections. Clients may choose to keep working on an application they previously started or check the status of an application Courtesy for MDHS
MI Bridges is a secure website and by law any information given must be kept private and secure. Notice that clients are required to enter information marked with a red star Courtesy of MDHS
The user ID created by the client will be theirs forever. They will log in to their MI Bridges account using this same user ID to check their benefits, upload documents, reapply for benefits, check the status of an application, and report changes The client should keep this user ID and password in a secure location. If they forget their user ID and password they may select security questions shown on the next slide to answer Courtesy of MDHS
Choosing these secret questions and typing in answers will enable the client to gain access to their MI Bridges account should they forget their user ID or password in the future The User Acceptance Agreement box must be checked before finalizing a MI Bridges account After all information is filled out, click the Create Account button to finalize a new account! Courtesy of MDHS
After the account has been created successfully the client may apply for benefits. If they would like to apply now, they click here to log in and begin the application process Courtesy of MDHS
Creating an Account through “View My Case” – For Existing Recipient
Forgotten Password and/or User ID • Five attempts to enter user ID and password incorrectly before system locks. • Use secret questions to create new password or recover User ID • Can create up to three new User ID and/or Passwords before the system locks you out completely. • If locked completely out of system after creating three user ID and passwords, an customer can go to a local DHS office for assistance in unlocking account.
Program Benefits and Navigation Overview Michigan Benefits Access
MI Bridges Benefit Programs • Food Assistance (FAP) • http://michigan.gov/dhs/0,4562,7-124-5453_5527---,00.html • State Emergency Relief (SER) • http://michigan.gov/dhs/0,4562,7-124-5453_5531---,00.html • Medical Assistance (MA) • http://michigan.gov/dhs/0,4562,7-124-5453_5530---,00.html • Child Development and Care (CDC) • http://michigan.gov/dhs/0,4562,7-124-5453_5529---,00.html • Family Independence Program (FIP) • http://michigan.gov/dhs/0,4562,7-124-5453_5526---,00.html
Food Assistance Program (FAP) • FAP supplements the food purchasing power of low-income individuals and families • Eligible Items: • Food • Plants and seeds of plants which produce food • (No sales tax) • Non-Eligible Items: • Alcoholic beverages • Tobacco products • Foods eaten in store • Hot foods in stores • Vitamins or medicines • Any non-food items (except seeds and plants)
State Emergency Relief (SER) • SER program provides immediate help to individuals and families facing conditions of extreme hardship or for emergencies that threaten health and safety. • SER benefits are segmented into five categories: • Heat & Utilities http://1.usa.gov/Abgy9j • Home Repairs http://1.usa.gov/x2Kk7q • Relocation Assistance http://1.usa.gov/xiZw8l • Home Ownership Services http://1.usa.gov/xw4MtM • Burial http://1.usa.gov/yUcIEv