Apply For Michigan TANF Benefits

Learn how to apply for Michigan TANF. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, called Michigan Family Independence Program (FIP), may help you become self-supportive while receiving monthly cash benefits to meet your everyday needs such as rent, utilities, clothes, transportation, or additional expenses.

Sometimes you may not be eligible to receive TANF for yourself, but a child or children in your household may. The TANF program is administered by the Department of Human Services. In most cases, in order to qualify for TANF you must meet both types of eligibility, categorical and financial.

Additionally, to qualify for TANF there are work requirements. The MI TANF program requires most adults be employed or participate in certain work-related activities, which you will be assigned for a certain number of hours on a weekly basis in order to continue receiving TANF benefits.

The total number of hours needed to fulfill your work activity requirement depends on your family composition. Qualified state residents are required to produce information including household income, age, citizenship and resources.

Only household members who are eligible for Michigan TANF can receive welfare benefits. For more information about applying for MI TANF benefits, view the information below. If you still have questions or issues, then contact TANF Michigan.

Michigan TANF eligibility

To qualify for Michigan TANF, children must be a part of your family and meet age requirements. If your child is under the age of 18, or 18 years old and attending high school, you may be eligible. The family or legal guardians of that child are also evaluated as part of the eligibility process.

If you are a pregnant woman or parents of a child in foster care who is expected to return home within one year, you may also be eligible for cash assistance. In general, MDHHS will review your assets, countable income and residency to determine what, if any, benefits you may be eligible for.


The cash asset limit is $3,000. Assets are cash or any property you own. Assets such as your vehicles and personal belongings are not counted. Cash assets include:

  • Cash on hand
  • Bank and credit union accounts
  • Investments
  • Retirement plans
  • Trusts
  • Property or real estate (asset limit is $250,000)

Most earned and unearned income is counted. Income is considered when determining the amount of cash assistance your family is eligible to receive. Examples of countable income are:

  • Wages
  • Self-employment earnings
  • Rental income
  • Child support
  • Social Security benefits
  • Veterans benefits
  • Residency
  • Must be a US citizen (or acceptable alien status)
  • Must live in Michigan
  • Must not be receiving cash assistance from any other state

Apply for Michigan TANF

The Department of Health and Human Services can help you and your family with temporary assistance. Use MI Bridges to apply for assistance online, check your eligibility status and manage your account online. You can also download a copy of the TANF application and submit it to your local MDHHS office. To find a location, view a list of MDHHS offices near you.

When you apply for the Michigan TANF program, you will need to do an interview to determine if you qualify for TANF benefits. Your case will be assigned to a Department of Human Services (DHS) specialist who will meet with you if required and process your application. At this time the specialist usually explains:

  • What verification's will be needed
  • Confidentiality and your right to privacy
  • Family Automated Screening Tool (FAST) and the Family Self-Sufficiency Plan (FSSP)
  • Jobs, Education and Training (JET)
  • If you have income, how the income is budgeted
  • How often you will receive your benefits, including food assistance benefits if you are eligible
  • About Medicaid; and
  • About Child Development and Care to help pay for child care costs

During your meeting with a DHS specialist, you will be asked to provide proof for most of the information you put on your application. Except for permanent papers like birth certificates, etc., most documents used for proof must be less than 30 days old.

They may also need to contact your landlord, child care provider or employer, etc., to verify your situation. Your signature on the application gives them permission to contact individuals, businesses, etc., to verify information.

They will tell you if a document/proof is needed, provide time (generally 10 days) to get the proof, and if necessary, help you to obtain the required proof. Sometimes it may be difficult or impossible for you to provide a certain document/proof.

Bring these problems to the attention of your specialist so other options can be explored. Choose the documents you have from the lists below and submit them with your application. These include, but are not limited to the items listed below:

  • Identification
  • Social Security numbers for everyone in the household who is applying
  • Income (current or date it stopped)
  • Application or receipt of unemployment compensation benefits (UCB)
  • Assets (bank account statements, 401(k) and other investment account balances, investment accounts, trust funds, etc.)
  • Shelter expenses (rent receipt, mortgage payment, property tax bill, home owner insurance, heat, electric, phone, water, etc.)
  • Child support paid
  • Day care expenses
  • Medical or health insurance card
  • Medical bills, unpaid
  • Shutoff notices for shelter, heat or utilities
  • Alien/Immigration status
  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce decree
  • Paternity acknowledgement
  • Pregnancy, expected date of delivery and number of children expected

Please note, they encourage you to apply even if you do not have the document(s) listed above.

What happens after you are approved?

Once you begin receiving Michigan TANF benefits, you will need to report any changes in your status and work with your MDHHS specialist when necessary. It is your responsibility to report changes in your situation that might affect your eligibility or your benefit amount within 10 days of the change. Your specialist will tell you if different reporting rules apply to you. Check out the Rights & Responsibilities page for more details.

Most income you receive must be considered in determining if you are eligible for Family Independence Program (FIP) benefits and other types of assistance. It is important that you report correct income information to your MDHHS specialist. If your case is opened, your MDHHS specialist will estimate your future income based on the information you provide.

Receiving Michigan TANF benefits

Ongoing semi-monthly cash assistance benefits and supplemental benefits issued on active cash assistance cases are electronically deposited into your Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) account. You will receive a debit card, known as the Michigan Bridge Card, and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to access your benefits. Benefits are issued twice each month on a schedule based on the last digit of your case number. A copy of the schedule will be sent to you.

Home Calls

If you receive FIP benefits, you will occasionally receive visits from your MDHHS specialist. The purpose of these home calls is to review your family situation to determine how much progress you are making toward becoming self-supporting.

TANF schedule of payments

When eligible for financial assistance, deposits will be made to your EBT account twice per month. The date of each deposit will depend on the last number in your Individual Identification number. (Example: If your Individual Identification number is 0012345678, 8 is the last number).

Find the last number of your Individual Identification number in the top row of the chart below. The dates your payments will be placed in your EBT account are listed below that number.

0 1 2 3 4
Each Month
Each Month
Each Month
Each Month
Each Month
5 6 7 8 9
Each Month
Each Month
Each Month
Each Month
Each Month
I was denied TANF benefits. What can I do?

State and local agencies are responsible for establishing the eligibility criteria and procedures that apply in their programs, not the Federal government. If you disagree with a decision regarding welfare benefits, you have the right to file an appeal. For more information about your state's appeals procedures, contact the MI TANF office.