Public Benefits

Public Benefits are government programs (tribal, state, or federal) for people who meet eligibility requirements. Each program has its own requirements. Most public assistance programs are income and asset tested. 

All public benefits programs are subject to due process protections. This means that denials, termination, and reduction of benefits can be appealed. For more information about making an appeal, visit Michigan Legal Help and select the program(s) that are relevant to you. 


For information about the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act of 2014, visit the following MILS page: General Welfare Exclusion Act. 

This guide from WashingtonLawHelp explains how your tribal income/resources affect your SSI. 


Apply for state benefits, manage your case, and explore resources at MI Bridges.  For assistance navitaging MiBridges, you can contact MILS at 231-947-0122. The Bridges Eligibility Manual and Bridges Administrative Manual provide detailed information about each program. 

Contact MILS

For help with 1) tribal benefits, or 2) public benefits where tribal payments are the issue, please call MILS at 231-947-0122. 

 Other Sources of Help

Social Security Benefits- Learn more about Social Security Benefits at Michigan Legal Help and

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)- SSI is based on financial need and either age or disability. Learn more about qualifying and how to apply

Food Assistance Programs (FAP)- Michigan Legal Help provides information about FAP, or Food Stamps. You can apply online at MI Bridges

Family Independence Program (FIP)- Michigan Legal Help provides information about FIP. You can apply online at MI Bridges

State Disability Assistance- For more information on eligibility and applying visit Michigan Legal Help's State Disability Assistance page.

State Emergency Relief Program (SER)- SER provides help to people who need money quickly for an emergency. You can find more information about SER and how to apply at Michigan Legal Help. The State Emergency Relief Manual (ERM) has detailed information about the program.

Low Income Heat Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)- LIHEAP helps low-income households with their home energy bills. For more information about LIHEAP and how to apply, visit 

Child Development and Care (CDC)- Programs are available for assistance with child care expenses. You can apply online at MI Bridges

Lifeline- Lifeline is a state and federal program that provides discounts on telecommunications and broadband service to certain qualifying low income customers. Learn more about program eligibility and how to apply. If you live on Tribal lands, you may qualify for an additional discount

Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)- The Affordable Connectivity Program is a federal benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more. Learn more about program eligibility and how to apply

For information about health benefits such as Medicaid and Medicare, visit the MILS page on this topic.

*The PDF file linked above does not fully comply with all applicable guidelines for accessible digital documents. For alternative formats, contact us at 231-947-0122 or*

Lakeshore Legal Aid's Video Library: 

DHHS appeals in Michigan

Protecting your Social Security