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Governor Whitmer signs bill removing asset barrier to SNAP benefits

Governors plead for food stamp flexibility amid pandemic
Posted at 10:44 AM, Jul 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-13 06:40:56-04

LANSING, Mich. — A barrier to acquiring food assistance in Michigan has been lowered after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bipartisan Senate bill removing the asset test as a requirement to receive SNAP benefits.

The move will offer greater financial security to those who need it and ease the burden of receiving aid, according to the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor. Michigan is now one of 37 states with similar laws.

“No one should be forced to sell their car or empty their savings account to feed themselves and their children,” says Governor Whitmer. “Improving access to food assistance is a commonsense step already taken by 36 other states to lower costs for families and ensure they can get the benefits they need.”

Governor Whitmer says people who had more than $15,000 worth of assets (including vehicles and savings) were disqualified for food assistance.

“This forced people who might have been laid off or just need a little breathing room to make impossible choices to quality for SNAP,” Whitmer explains. “Food benefits must be accessible for Michiganders who need them without illogical trade-offs.”

The Michigan League for Public Policy says 531,000 children in Michigan will benefit from the eliminated asset requirement.

"I’m glad that we will use national eligibility standards rather than spending state taxpayers' money to block residents from the help they need to feed themselves and their families,” says Sen. Jeff Irwin (D–Ann Arbor). “Our safety net works better if it can catch people before they hit the ground; now families who face financial difficulties won’t be required to deplete all their savings and risk losing everything before they can get food assistance.”

Rep. Matt Hall (R–Richland Township) decried the new law, stating it opens loopholes allowing wealthy people to acquire SNAP benefits.

“Michiganders are always ready to support people who need temporary help to get back up on their feet, but Democrats are turning the food assistance program on its head. Without this test measuring people’s wealth, even lottery winners and other millionaires could rake in food stamps paid for with our tax dollars that should be going to those who truly need help feeding their families,” says Hall. “Offering food stamps to the rich does nothing to put food on the tables of Michiganders in need.”

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