Current Issues & Lawsuits



Dozier et al. v. Lyon: Medicaid Coverage for Women in "Plan First!" Program

  • Background: CCJ filed a complaint against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in June 2014 regarding its plan to phase out the "Plan First!" program, which provides family planning Medicaid services to low income women. DHHS intended to end the program without conducting ex parte reviews, meaning that it would terminate a woman’s "Plan First!" coverage without first determining if she was eligible for any other Medicaid categories, in violation of federal law.
  • Current status: As a result of CCJ's lawsuit, the District Court ordered DHHS to immediately renew "Plan First!" benefits to every woman in the class.  In January 2016, the District Court ordered DHHS to complete ex parte reviews of all 32,000 plaintiffs within 60 days, with an exception for disability-based cases.  Over 20,700 women have been found eligible for comprehensive health care coverage through Medicaid as a result of this lawsuit. 
  • If you think you may be affected by this lawsuit: If you participate in the "Plan First!" Program, you may be eligible for full Medicaid coverage. Make sure DHHS has your most updated contact information. If you have questions, call CCJ at (800) 724-7441.

Barry et al. v. Lyon: Public Assistance for Felony Suspects and Their Families

  • Background: CCJ and their co-counsel, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU), filed a complaint against against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in July 2013. The complaint challenged the state’s practice of automatically terminating food assistance, cash assistance, or child care benefits to anyone with an outstanding felony warrant. CCJ and the ACLU also alleged that DHHS informed benefit recipients of the terminations in a manner that was unconstitutional and failed to qualify as notice of the termination.
  • Current status: The District Court held that the criminal justice disqualification notices DHHS sent to some people beginning in December 2012 violate a federal law and the U.S. Constitution. The Court also held that DHHS cannot deny or cut off Food Assistance Program (FAP) benefits solely because a person has an outstanding felony warrant. DHHS must also determine that: (a) the person is intentionally fleeing to avoid prosecution, custody, or jail/prison; and (b) law enforcement officials are actively seeking the person. The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed, holding that: (1) The mootness exception applied in this case, so FAP recipients had standing to pursue their claims even after their individual situations had been administratively resolved; (2) a private right of action existed to enforce the FAP benefits and a right to a fair hearing; (3) FAP benefits could not be denied without reaching the determinations set forth by the District Court; and (4) the disqualification notices violated the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause by failing to sufficiently state the reasons for the disqualifications.  By the most recent estimate, nearly 17,000 individuals have had over $52 million in benefits restored as a result of this lawsuit. 
  • If you think you may be affected by this lawsuit: visit the ACLU’s website or call the ACLU at (313) 578-6826.

Last updated January 2018

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