&
State of Michigan Department of Human Services
and
Michigan Benefits Access Initiative (MBAI)
Community Partner Orientation
Community Partner Orientation Objectives:
After viewing this training module you will be able to:
• Identify the needs and benefits of inter-agency partnerships.
• Define target households for outreach services and the goals of
providing these services.
• Identify the key goals of MI Bridges.
• Navigate MI Bridges and explain basic application process to
potential clients.
MI Bridges Basics
Need and Opportunity
&
 Michigan hit tremendously hard by economic downturn.
 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 annually.
1
Reasons for Not Applying
Lack of knowledge, distrust of government, welfare stigma, many
stops, time missed from work, employed not eligible, or denied before.
Department of
Community Health
Department of
Human Services
U.S. Department
of Education
IRS
2
A Stepped Approach to
Financial Independence
3
Department of Human
Services Assistance Programs

Food Assistance

Energy and Non-Energy Assistance

Medical Assistance

Child Care Assistance

Cash Assistance
4
Public-Private Partnership
 A statewide stakeholder group of 40 nonprofits and state
agencies, led by the Michigan Association of United Ways,
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.
5
Michigan Benefits Access
Initiative (MBAI)
Increase the economic stability for Michigan
families by connecting them to multiple public
benefits through the use of the MI Bridges
technology.
6
Michigan Benefits Access
Initiative Vision
7
MI Bridges Technology:
Key Goals

Give DHS recipients anywhere, anytime access to apply for
DHS programs and check on their case status.

Reduce number of local offices visits and phone calls to
DHS by recipients.

Provide easier benefit maintenance through uploading of
documentation.

Allow DHS recipients to get answers to commonly asked
questions themselves through the Internet and telephone.
8
MI Bridges Technology:
Key Goals (cont.)

Build on the success of existing MI Bridges (As of August
22nd 2011)

Over 418,000 applications submitted online.

Over 600 registered community partners.

Over 247,500 online recipient accounts created.

Over 43,500 case change reports submitted.

Over 1,250,000 telephone calls received.
9
MBAI Outreach: Key Goals
 Improve access to public benefits for those in need of
financial support.
 Educate Community Based Organizations (CBO) on the
advantages of using MI Bridges for their clients.
 Train CBOs on the use of MI Bridges to effectively help
people with applications.
 Develop a referral system that will direct potential benefit
recipients to organizations capable of providing application
assistance.
 Referrals become available through 2-1-1
10
Target Households
Seek to engage households that have:

Only applied for one benefit (i.e. food benefits only).

Applied before, but denied.

Limited reading or computer literacy.

Never applied before.

Lack transportation and computer access.
11
Statewide Outreach and
Training
Regional UW MBAI Capacity Hub
 United Way of S.E. Michigan is the
MBAI capacity-building hub.
 Sixteen pilot sites engaged in benefit
access work.
Statewide Sector Leadership









Food Bank Council of MI.
MI Primary Care Association.
MI Community College Association.
MPRI.
MI EITC Coalition.
Coalition to End Homelessness.
DHS – Voices for Action.
MI Head Start Association.
MCAAA.
12
WHAT IS MI BRIDGES?
13
MI Bridges Is:

A 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.

A system that allows households to create an account to
apply for benefits, check case status, and re-certify all online.
14
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.
www.michigan.gov/mibridges
1-888-MIBRIDGES
1-888-642-7434
15
MI Bridges – What Can You Do? (cont.)
 Correspondence – Allow recipients to view their
correspondence electronically.

Electronic Notification – Allow recipients to receive
e-mails when new correspondence is generated.

Increased benefit history view – Allow recipients to view
two-month prior, current and future month benefit status.
www.michigan.gov/mibridges
1-888-MIBRIDGES
1-888-642-7434
16
MI Bridges Expansion Releases
MI Bridges provides DHS clients the ability to interact with the
DHS via a self-service website and an interactive voice
response (IVR) system.
Michigan’s self-service solution “MI Bridges” is being
expanded to include the following in a phase manner:
Release
I
Sept 2011
Functionality
Check My Benefits
(CMB): Internet
Check My Benefits
(CMB):
IVR
Expansion Theme
Expand existing internet functionality to include medical
assistance, child development and care, cash assistance and
non-energy state emergency relief.
Expand existing IVR functionality to include medical assistance,
child development and care, cash assistance and state
emergency relief (energy and non-energy).
17
MI Bridges Expansion Releases (cont.)
Release
Functionality
Apply For Benefits (AFB)
II
Jan 2012
III
Mar 2012
Document Upload
Capability (DUC)
Report My Changes
(RMC)
Renew My Benefits
(RMB)
Arabic (ALT)
Expansion Theme
Expand existing functionality to include medical assistance, child
development and care, cash assistance and non-energy state
emergency relief.
New functionality to allow applicants/recipients to upload
documents.
Expand existing functionality to include medical assistance, child
development and care and cash assistance.
New functionality to allow recipients to complete semi-annual and
annual redeterminations.
Add Arabic capability to each of the MI Bridges functionality
(Internet and IVR).
18
MI Bridges Need to Know
 Practice for general system navigation is available
in MI Bridges.
 Only use the “Next” and “Back” arrow buttons
within MI Bridges and not the browser buttons.
 Application can be saved for completion later.
 Application good for up to 12 months without
submission.
19
MI Bridges Need to Know (cont.)
 Can check status of paper application or existing
case by creating user name and password.
 Allowed five times to enter user name and
password incorrectly before system locks you out.
 Can create up to three new user names and
passwords.
20
Client Can Practice Bridges Navigation
If the client needs
information on how
to navigate
MiBridges and
practice answering
the types of
questions that will
be asked during the
application process,
they can click here.
21
Question
Q: What happens if a client is interrupted and
cannot complete the online application at that
time?
A: The client may click on the “Save and Exit”
button located at the bottom of the screen.
22
Save and Exit Choices
Notice the choices
for the client when
they need to step
away from the
application
process.
23
Allows recipients to view
their program status
Recipients can now view DHS programs status.
24
Case owners decide who to
grant access to
Case owners may deny access to perpetrators of domestic violence
and abuse.
25
Recipients can view
correspondence electronically
26
Recipients get notified
electronically
Recipients may request to receive an email notifying them
whenever new correspondence is generated.
27
Uploading Documents
If clients need
more information on how to
upload
documents,
they may
click here.
Next, clients
will have the
option to
upload
documents
they have
saved
electronically.
These are
some of the
document
choices
available for
them to
upload.
28
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
29
Uploading Documents
On the previous
page, the client
chose to upload
a Proof of Identity
document. They
then selected
“Driver’s License”
as the proof of
identity they
would like to
upload.
Here, the client
uses the “Browse”
button to point to
the location of the
saved document.
30
Recipients Can Now See More
Benefit History
Recipients can now view two-month prior, current month and
future month benefits.
31
Thank You!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this method of receiving information on MI
Bridges and look forward to sharing more in the future.
Additional detailed information may be found on the DHSNet OTSD
website under the MI Bridges Training section.
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