Michiganders in need of food or cash assistance will now have an easier time obtaining those services after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer raised the personal asset thresholds needing to qualify for these programs Thursday.
Before in Michigan, the state had three thresholds for qualifying for emergency state assistance ranging from $500 to $5,000. However, now all three thresholds have been raised to $15,000 in Whitmer’s new plan. These new changes come into effect on November 1.
“These asset test policy changes are important because right now too many Michigan families are struggling to get ahead,” she said. “This is about doing what’s right to help more families get the resources they need and building a stronger Michigan for everyone.”
Today Director @robertmgordon and I announced policy changes to increase asset limits for SNAP, cash assistance, & state emergency relief programs. These changes make it easier for those who need to access food assistance & public benefits to plan for a more stable future. pic.twitter.com/2L5CJ585NT
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) October 17, 2019
In the governor’s press release, it says these changes will ease Michigan’s asset test requirements, which were some of the strictest in the country.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director (DHHS) Robert Gordon, who announced the changes alongside Whitmer, said people should be encouraged to save so they can get out of poverty.
“Michigan is unusual in saying that in addition to having a low income, families also have to establish that they have almost nothing in the bank to receive public assistance. Most states have moved away from stringent asset tests because they are hard to administer, they lead to higher administrative costs as people come on and off programs more frequently, and they discourage low-income families from saving to build a better future,” he said.
Neither Gordon nor Whitmer announced how many new people would qualify for this new program, however, Gordon anticipates the federally-funded food assistance program being affected the most, according to the Detroit News reports.
Michigan DHHS data shows A little over 1 million Michigan residents receive food assistance from Michigan. As of the 2019 fiscal year, over 34 million Americans participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assitance Program (SNAP) program, according to the SNAP.
“Reducing barriers to proper nutrition allows Michigan residents to focus on becoming healthier and more financially stable,” said Michelle Lantz, CEO of Greater Lansing Food Bank.
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