Thousands in four Michigan counties could lose food stamps - WNEM TV 5

Thousands in four Michigan counties could lose food stamps

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LANSING, MI (WNEM) -

Approximately 14,000 people in four Michigan counties will soon be required by the federal government to meet work requirements in order to continue receiving food stamps due to the state's improving economy. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services this week is notifying able-bodied adults without children or dependents in Kent, Oakland, Ottawa and Washtenaw counties of the upcoming change.

The approximately 14,000 people impacted will have three-months to meet the requirements, which have been waived for more than a decade.

The four counties are being phased out first because of their lower unemployment rates. MDHHS expects the waiver to be phased out statewide by October 2018 or sooner.

Able-bodied adults are recipients ages 18 to 49 who do not have a disability that prevents them from working or meet other federal criteria that exempts them from requirements. They can meet the reinstated work requirements to receive food assistance by:

  • Working an average of 20 hours per week each month in unsubsidized employment.
  • Participating for an average of 20 hours per week each month in an approved employment and training program.
  • Participating in community service by volunteering at a nonprofit organization.

Michigan began receiving a waiver from the requirements in 2002 due to high unemployment. The state's improving economy and lower unemployment rate over the last several years means it is no longer eligible.

Cherie Shelton has a Bridge Card and she applauds the changes that will affect the state program she uses.

"If you don't have children and want food, it should only be fair for you to have to do something to earn it," Shelton said.

Shelton has a boy so she will retain her benefits. However, she said she had to work to earn state issued cash assistance and believes it should be no different for those without children who need a Bridge Card.

"It's not that hard to get a job. If you want a job you can get a job. And I am a felon so it's not an issue," Shelton said.

If you have questions about the upcoming changes, you can call your MDHHS case specialist with or visit www.michigan.gov/FoodAssistance for more information on the work requirements, exemptions and other information.

Read the full release here: 

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