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Changes to Your Food Assistance Benefits

October 1, 2018: Time Limits for Receiving Benefits Through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Starting October 1 some SNAP recipients may need to meet work requirements from the Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) to keep their benefits. These requirements include working, training for work, or volunteering a certain number of hours each month.

Michigan Bridge Card

If you are an able-bodied adult age 18-49 without dependents, you may be impacted by the change in the requirements to receive this benefit and the following information is provided to help you understand the new process and what you may need to do.

If you are impacted and you choose to work or receive work training, Detroit at Work has thousands of Metro Detroit jobs listed on our website, and a wide range of training options are also available. Click on the Jobs or Training links, or come in to register and speak with a career adviser if you are interested in finding employment or training. Click the ‘Locations’ link to find your nearest Detroit at Work Career Center.

The changes will affect most Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) age 18-49. Able-bodied individuals may only receive food assistance benefits for up to three months within a 36-month period without meeting certain work requirements. This is known as Time Limited Food Assistance. If you are impacted you will receive a letter from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

An able-bodied individual participating in an Education and Training program will have their participation verified by an approved partner agency, such as ‘Detroit at Work’

More than a decade ago, Michigan and other states received a federal waiver when the states’ economies were struggling with high unemployment rates. The waiver removed some of the work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents. As Michigan’s economy improves, some Michigan counties are no longer eligible for the federal waiver. For Detroit residents, the work requirements came back into force October 1, 2018.

You will receive a letter from MDHHS notifying you of potential changes to your benefits based on participation in required activities.

You will receive a second letter with the date for you to attend orientation

Begin your workforce related activity

Provide proof your your participation of workforce activity to your career adviser.

Does This Change Affect Me?

The changes will affect most Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) age 18-49. Able-bodied individuals may only receive food assistance benefits for up to three months within a 36-month period without meeting certain work requirements. This is known as a time limit. If you are impacted you will receive a letter from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

How Does an Able-bodied Individual Meet the Work Requirements?

There are three ways an individual can meet the time limit work requirements:

  • Work an average of at least 20 hours per week each month in unsubsidized, self and/or in-kind employment.
  • Participate 20 hours per week (averaged monthly) in an approved employment training program
  • Participate in community service by volunteering at a nonprofit organization.

You may be exempt from meeting work requirements if you 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.

How Does an Able-bodied Individual Participate in Community Service?

An able-bodied individual can choose to volunteer at a nonprofit organization. The number of hours required is determined by dividing the individual’s household monthly food assistance benefit by Michigan’s minimum wage ($9.25 as of Jan. 1, 2018). MDHHS will determine the number of participation hours required.

How Does an Able-bodied Individual Prove They Are Meeting Work Requirements?

An able-bodied individual meeting the work requirements through unsubsidized, self and/or in-kind employment must provide income verification as directed by MDHHS.

An able-bodied individual participating in an Education and Training program will have their participation verified by a partner agency, such as ‘Detroit at Work’

An able-bodied individual must show proof of completing community service hours by turning in a completed Community Service Activity Report every month to avoid interruptions in benefits.

What Training Programs Are Available?

Detroit at Work has a wide range of training programs available that will meet MDHHS requirements. If you are doing a training class or accessing workforce services, Detroit at Work may be able to help you with free bus tickets to get you to and from our career centers, or to and from your training program location. If you start a job that needs private transportation, we can connect you with resources to help you overcome this barrier. Come in and talk to a career adviser to find out what help is available.

What Else Should I Know?

An able-bodied individual can participate in a combination of unsubsidized employment and an employment and training program, but cannot combine either with community service to meet the minimum hour requirement.

The three months of benefits available without meeting an able-bodied individual exemption or deferral is cumulative, so participants can use their three months at any time during the 36-month time period. The non-working months do not have to be consecutive.

Why Are My Benefits Changing?

More than a decade ago, Michigan and other states received a federal waiver when the states’ economies were struggling with high unemployment rates. The waiver removed some of the work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents. As Michigan’s economy improves, some Michigan counties are no longer eligible for the federal waiver. Additional counties are being assessed and these work requirements will soon be phased in for other counties as well. For Detroit residents, the work requirements came back into force October 1, 2018.

What if I Have More Questions?

Register with Detroit at Work for job and training opportunities, then visit a Career Center to find a job or sign up for training.

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Phone313-962-WORK