Michigan Benefits Access and MI Bridges Orientation 2.21.14

Michigan Benefits Access and MI
Bridges Orientation
Need and Opportunity
• Michigan hit tremendously hard by 2008 recession
• Unprecedented numbers of households qualify for
public work supports
• State of Michigan and nonprofits struggle to meet the
needs of low-income families
• Public work supports go unclaimed in Michigan
Reasons Why People Don’t Apply
Lack of knowledge, distrust of government, welfare stigma, too many
stops, missed time from work, perception that employed aren’t
eligible, denied in previous application.
Department of
Community Health
U.S. Department
of Education
Department of
Human Services
Public – Private Partnership
• A statewide stakeholder group of 40 non-profits and state
agencies, led by the Michigan Association of United Ways,
researched innovative strategies for a streamlined benefits
delivery system.
• Both government officials and non-profit leaders moved
toward 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.
Increase the economic
stability for Michigan families
by connecting them to multiple
public benefits through MI
Bridges web based system
and Community Partners
A Stepped Approach to
Financial Independence
Michigan Benefit Access Vision
MI Bridges Technology:
Key Goals
• Give DHS applicants anywhere, anytime access to apply
for DHS programs and check on their case status.
• Provide easier benefit maintenance through uploading of
documentation online.
• Improve access to public benefits for those in need of
financial support.
MI Bridges Technology:
Key Goals
• MI Bridges Success for 2013
786,297 MI Bridges applications in 2013
• In addition:
936,576 clients viewed their correspondence in MI Bridges
237,484 clients logged in to check their benefits
472,625 documents uploaded to MI Bridges
229,900 report my changes
335,574 text message notifications sent regarding new correspondence
377,626 e-mail notifications sent regarding new correspondence
Data provided by DHS
MI Bridges Outreach:
Key Goals
• Educate a broad set of social service networks to engage
clients with MI Bridges.
• Train CBOs on how to navigate MI Bridges and assist clients
directly with benefit applications.
• Develop a referral system that will direct potential benefit
recipients to organizations capable of providing application
Target Households
• Seek to engage households that have:
• Only applied for one benefit
• Applied before but denied
• Limited reading or computer literacy
• Never applied before
• Lack transportation and/or computer access
Introduction to MI Bridges and
Community Partners
What is MI Bridges?
• 24-hour secure internet portal to DHS benefit
• 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
 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
Courtesy of MDHS
Self-Service Processing Centers
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)
P.O. Box 33240
Detroit, MI 48232-9829
1-877-274-9099 (phone)
1-877-274-9094 (fax)
[email protected]
Community Partner History
• Currently have 1,300 registered (this
function will be disabled)
• Small amount have submitted MI Bridges
• Need to clean up and streamline
• Focus now on quality, not quantity
Community Partners
The Michigan Department of Human Services is
seeking community partners.
Two ways that organizations can get involved:
Access Partners
Navigation Partners
Access Partners
Agree to promote MBA and MI Bridges by:
Displaying promotional materials
Providing a computer(s) to be utilized by clients to access
MI Bridges
Individuals fill out applications by themselves.
Examples: libraries, community centers, schools
• Completion of an MBA orientation webinar/presentation or inperson navigation training.
• Partner application submitted to MDHS.
Access Partners
• Access Partner ID Number from MDHS.
• Ongoing communication from MDHS regarding policy
updates and number of MI Bridges applications generated
through your organization.
• MBA promotional materials (posters, fliers, templates).
• Applicant resource materials, including client handouts
and identification signage.
• Information about additional training opportunities.
• The organization will be represented and listed as an MBA
Access Partner on MDHS and MBA websites.
Navigation Partners
Agree to promote MBA and MI Bridges by:
Displaying promotional materials.
Providing a computer(s) to be utilized to access
MI Bridges.
Providing technical assistance and one-on-one
navigation assistance.
Directly help individuals who may be unable to use
the system enter data for the application.
Navigation Partners
Successful completion of MBA and MI Bridges Navigation
Partner Application submitted to MDHS
Individuals providing assistance:
Submit MBA Navigation Partner User ID application
request to MDHS
Authorize MDHS to complete a background check
Background checks occur on a yearly basis
Memorandum of Agreement with MDHS
Participate in trainings and/or webinars for updates
Participate in quality assurance reviews
Navigation Partners
Receive a Navigation Partner ID number from MDHS
Individual user ID numbers for agency staff and volunteers
Communication from MDHS
MBA promotional materials and signage
Information about additional training opportunities
Ongoing technical assistance on MBA integration and
Promotion as a Navigation Partner through DHS and MBA
Quarterly information on benefits your clients accessed through
MI Bridge
Integrating the Use of MI Bridges
 How do you think your community will receive online
bundled benefit access through MI Bridges?
 How does benefit access fit with your work?
Community Outreach Coupled with
MI Bridges Expanded Technology
Possible locations for MI Bridges access = Labor halls;
community based organizations; churches; community
clinics; libraries; early learning centers
Integrating Michigan Benefits Access
 When choosing a Levels of Engagement, consider
capacity of agency.
 Assess the type of services currently provided by
agency (i.e. already assisting with paper applications).
 Tap into the availability of volunteers or AmeriCorps
members to connect with more people at multiple sites.
 Take advantage of existing events in your community
to share information about MI Bridges or provide direct
service (i.e. Show me the Money Day).
MBA Outreach Resources
DHS Community Resource Coordinators are able to provide
information about MI Bridges and opportunities for training.
AmeriCorps members serving as MBA Community Resource
Navigators throughout Michigan. Members provide:
 Agency capacity building
 Limited 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
Training Opportunities
 The orientation is suited for a network of community based
Access Partners seeking an opportunity to ask questions and
develop a plan of how best to incorporate benefits access into
their community. Webinar dates will be posted on the MBA
 Orientation webinar - 1 hour
 MBA and MI Bridges Navigation training provides instruction on
how to navigate the MI Bridges system.
 Successful completion of this training is required to be eligible to become a
Navigation Partner.
 Full in-person MBA and MI Bridges Navigation training - 3 hours
Training Opportunities Continued
 Prescheduled, in-person training events that are open to the
public will posted on the Michigan Benefits Access website –
 Pre-registration will be required through the website
 There will be a limit on the number of seats available per
training event based on location
 At least 8 individuals must register to keep training date
 Training can also be provided upon request completing a Training
Request Form which can be found on the MBA website at
www.mibenefitsaccess.org or by contacting Jeanine Stanley, MBA
Program Director at [email protected]
Next Steps:
For additional information
or questions please contact:
Jeanine Stanley, MBA Program Director
[email protected] or 517-664-9809

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