How To Apply For The Michigan DHS Car Voucher Program

Are you wondering how to apply for the Michigan car voucher program?

You have plenty of company because the state does not make it easy. The directions are unclear, and some hyperlinks do not work.

This post will teach you to navigate two possible checkpoints and reach your destination (up to $10,000 to buy, fix, and insure a car).

The two checkpoints help families achieve self-sufficiency through work: The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) and PATH (Partnership. Accountability. Training. Hope.)

PATH and DHS case managers administer Employment Support Services, which include vehicle purchase, repair, and insurance (destination).

DHS Car Voucher Application

Figuring out how to apply for the Michigan DHS car voucher program is tricky, but it can help you save a lot of money. The benefits can be up to $10,000 (see below for details).

Here is the main thing: you want to get Employment Support Services (ESS), and there are two routes to get there.

Step One

You must first sign up for one of four Michigan benefit programs to get the DHS car voucher. Skip to Step Two if you are already a recipient.

  1. Family Independence Program (FIP or TANF)
  2. Food Assistance Program (FAP or SNAP)
  3. Child Development and Care (CDC)
  4. Medical Assistance (MA or Medicaid)

Establish an online account at Michigan Bridges to apply for one or all of these. Budget enough time to complete a lengthy application. Be prepared with information about your household members, assets, income, and expenses.

You must qualify for at least one program and get an approval notice before moving to Step Two.

Step Two

Once approved for one of the four Michigan programs, your case manager can authorize DHS car vouchers through ESS – if you qualify for these benefits.

However, it would help if you talked to the correct case manager

Michigan Works! Agencies administer PATH benefits. Therefore, clients served through this program must contact the local office in their area first.

  • Clients served by PATH
    • Mandatory or voluntary work program participants
    • Employment and training program participants
      • Food Assistance Program (FAP or SNAP)
      • Child Development and Care (CDC)
      • Medical Assistance (MA or Medicaid)
  • Clients served by DHS
    • Family Independence Program (FIP or TANF)
    • FAP, CDC, and MA recipients with restrictions

DHS Car Voucher Benefits

The Michigan DHS car voucher program significantly benefits qualified families needing work-related assistance. In other words, do not let the complicated application process stop you.

This Bridges Eligibility Manual shows that ESS might give up to $10,000 per parent, broken down as follows.

  • $2,000 for repairs
  • $2,000 for insurance
  • $5,000 for purchases
  • Unspecified for incidentals

Vehicle Purchase

The Michigan car program helps clients buy used cars to drive to work. ESS gives $5,000 to people needing a car to keep their job or accept a new employment offer.

You can get a car loan before starting a new job. Show the offer letter to the lender to establish income. Many people need more than $5,000 to get a reliable car. 

The $5,000 limit helps an individual buy, not lease, a vehicle for transportation to and from work. In other words, two-parent families might qualify for assistance with a second auto.

Vehicle Repair

The DHS car vouchers help pay for repairs. This benefit is available for vehicles mainly used to commute to work, even if public transit is an option.

ESS supports up to $2,000 in repairs over 12 months to make the vehicle safe and roadworthy. You can spend the money on new tires, headlamps, batteries, and more.

Emergency car repair loans could be helpful if the mechanic’s estimate exceeds the $2,000 limit. Get the vehicle fixed so you can drive to work and support your family.

Auto Insurance

The DHS car voucher program provides some help paying for car insurance. Families may get up to $2,000 to insure the car temporarily.

Your case manager may approve insurance help in 90-day chunks, giving recipients time to make more money. For example, ESS may include up to three extensions for a policy costing $2,000 per year (four sections of 90 days).

Incidental Expenses

Michigan car vouchers also provide financial support for incidental expenses. These benefits reduce the money needed for many small fees for buying and maintaining a commuter vehicle.

  • Towing expenses
  • License plates
  • Vehicle registration
  • Inspection by a licensed mechanic
  • Sales taxes
  • Driver’s education