Michigan requiring people to work for food assistance as food stamp policies change

Michigan's food stamp program has changed, meaning some people must start working or doing community service to continue receiving benefits.

Monday is October 1, meaning the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has enacted its new policy to the entire state that requires people on food assistance to resume working.

The health department's new policy means people between the ages of 18 and 49 who are 'able-bodied' have three months to either find a job or lose their benefits.

Any new applicants are subjected to the new policy immediately.

Those impacted need to either work, volunteer, or attend job training an average of 20 hours per week each month, in order to get their benefits. 

In order to be exempt, people must meet any of the following federal criteria.

• Are physically or mentally unable to work.
• Receive Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance due to disability or blindness, or receives Supplemental Security Income or State Disability Assistance.
• Are pregnant.
• Receive or are an applicant for unemployment benefits.
• Participate in a drug or alcohol treatment and rehabilitation program.
• Attend training or college at least half-time and meet the student eligibility criteria to receive food assistance.
• Care for an incapacitated person or a child under age 6 (they do not have to live with you).
• Reside in a household with a child under age 18. 

Michigan had this policy in place in the past but it was waived due to high unemployment rates and the struggling economy more than a decade ago. 

The state had already rolled out the policy to 14 counties and has now implemented it statewide.

For more information, check out michigan.gov