Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced today that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will increase the threshold below which residents can receive
public benefits like food assistance. Currently, Michigan has some of the most stringent asset test limits in the nation. The change will bring the asset test in line with those of other states.
“The morals of a state are reflected in its priorities and this decision speaks volumes about our compassion,” said Ryan Bates, Executive Director of Michigan United. “The new measure simply acknowledges the reality that you can’t get by today on what you made years ago. This is going to take a lot of pressure off folks who have to decide between paying their rent and feeding the kids or filling their prescriptions.”
According to the United Way’s ALICE Report, 43 percent of Michigan households currently struggle to afford necessities like housing, child care, food, technology, health care and transportation. Single adults now need an annual salary of just over $21,000, while a family of four needs an annual salary of over $61,000 - just to afford the basics. The new asset test limit for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will increase from $5,000 to $15,000 lifting many of the working poor out of poverty.
Michigan United has long supported a strong social safety net to protect those who have been left behind in this economy. While we don’t think that anyone who works for a living should need public assistance, we applaud the governor for making life livable for everyone in the state while we look for a way to make living wages for all a reality.