By Grace DeRose-Wilson, Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan
Michigan’s Coordinated Access to Food for the Elderly (MiCAFE) is a program of Elder Law of Michigan that helps potentially eligible older adults and individuals with disabilities access and apply for public benefits through the Department of Health and Human Services. MiCAFE also helps older adults and those with disabilities who are struggling to renew and maintain their benefits after getting approved for them. Just ask Ms. H.
Ms. H was struggling with the process of supplying information needed to keep her benefits. She was having trouble paying her bills and buying food, so she reached out to MiCAFE for assistance. A MiCAFE specialist helped Ms. H complete a brief screening to see if she might be eligible for help with groceries, then scheduled an appointment for her to apply for a Bridge Card by phone.
Not long after completing the Bridge card application, Ms. H realized she needed help paying for her Medicare Part B Premium. She again reached out to MiCAFE for assistance, this time applying for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP). A MiCAFE specialist helped Ms. H complete an application for MSP and explained the next steps she had to take in the application process. Over the next week, MiCAFE worked with Ms. H to help her get all her documents submitted to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
MDHHS processed the applications, and within a month Ms. H received her determination notice. She was not only approved for $116 on her Bridge Card to buy groceries, but she was also enrolled in the Medicare Savings Program. Best of all, Ms. H was reimbursed for some of the months that she had already paid for her Medicare Part B premium.
Ms. H was very grateful for the assistance that MiCAFE offered her. She called the hotline to express her gratitude. Ms. H told a MiCAFE specialist, “Things are almost back to where they was; I can pay my bills and buy food that I like.” Between the $135.50 that is no longer taken from Ms. H’s Social Security each month and the $116 on her Bridge Card, she no longer worries about having to choose between buying groceries or paying her bills.
If you would like help applying for or renewing your benefits through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services or if you have questions about your benefits and are unable to contact your MDHHS caseworker, call MiCAFE at 877.664.2233.
Grace DeRose-Wilson is a Screening Integration Coordinator for MiCAFE at Elder Law of Michigan and has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since November 2018. As a Screening Integration Coordinator, Grace helps Michigan seniors navigate the benefits application process, and helps raise awareness of benefits through community outreach events.