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Gov. Whitmer: Washtenaw, Wayne county residents affected by floods can apply for food assistance payment

One-time payment only for those who do not receive food assistance

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (State of Michigan)

ANN ARBOR – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Monday that low-income residents of Washtenaw and Wayne counties who were impacted by recent flooding can soon apply for federal Disaster Food Assistance Program benefits if they are not currently receiving food assistance.

For applicants deemed eligible, the one-time payment to spend on food amounts to $430 for a household of two and $782 for a household of four.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will be accepting in-person applications between Aug. 12-19 during specified hours.

“We have a duty to support families in Wayne and Washtenaw counties who have been hit hard by the recent, historic flooding,” Whitmer said in a statement. “These Michiganders should not have to worry about how they are going to feed their families as they deal with devastating damage to their homes and loss of valuable and invaluable property – from fridges to family photo albums.

“President Biden’s approval of my request for a presidential disaster declaration means Michigan can help these families put food on the table and continue to rebuild.”

In July, President Biden approved Whitmer’s request to declare disasters in the two counties whose residents suffered damage from power outages and flooding from June 25-29.

The federal disaster food benefits were approved by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.

According to a release, applicants who are eligible to receive the benefits must:

  • Have lived in Wayne or Washtenaw counties as of June 25, 2021.
  • Not already receive food assistance benefits, commonly known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
  • Meet income requirements for its family size based on the household’s take-home income and accessible liquid resources during the disaster benefit period, minus unreimbursed disaster expanses. That translates to an income of approximately 150% of the federal poverty level. For example, the maximum gross income to be eligible for a household of two is $2,190 per month, or $26,280 per year. By comparison, eligibility for traditional food assistance is based on an income that is 130% of the poverty level.

Additionally, applicants must have been directly impacted by the flooding, including experiencing:

  • Destroyed or spoiled food.
  • Disaster-related personal injury.
  • Lost or no access to income due to the disaster, including reduced, terminated or delayed receipt of income, for a large part of the benefit period.
  • The need for home or business repairs.
  • Temporary shelter expenses.
  • Evacuation or relocation expenses.

“MDHHS has been working hard to expand access to food assistance benefits for Michiganders who were negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said in a statement.

“Now the department wants to help residents who have suffered due to another emergency – the flooding in Wayne and Washtenaw counties – and are struggling due to no fault of their own. Improving access to services and benefits, including food assistance, is an important MDHHS priority.”

MDHHS will interview each applicant in-person before approval of the disaster food assistance benefits, according to federal regulations.

During the meeting, applicants must bring verification of their identity and are urged to bring proof of income, residents and liquid assets, if possible.

Applicants will not be asked to prove citizenship or alien status.

Face masks are required at all interview sites. Masks will be provided for those who do not have their own.

Wayne County residents can apply at the following MDHHS offices:

  • Greenfield/Joy District Office 8655 Greenfield Road, Detroit.
  • Taylor District Office, 25637 Ecorse Road, Taylor.
  • Inkster District Office, 26355 Michigan Ave., Inkster.
  • Southwest Service Center, 2524 Clark St., Detroit.
  • Conner Service Center/Gratiot/Seven Mile District Office, 4733 Conner St., Suite G7, Detroit.
  • Grandmont Service Center Office, 17455 Grand River Ave., Detroit.

Locations to apply in Washtenaw County:

  • Ypsilanti Middle School, 510 Emerick St., Ypsilanti.
  • Washtenaw County Learning Resource Center, 4135 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor.

To ensure a smooth process, applicants are asked to arrive on the assigned dates based on the first letter of their last names.

See the dates and times for each name category below:

Dates and times for Wayne and Washtenaw County residents to apply for food assistance benefits. (MDHHS)

Daily priority hours for elderly or disabled applicants will be from 8-9 a.m. Older applicants or those with a disability will be able to access prioritized lines, handicap-accessible parking, seating, water, restrooms and other accommodations if needed.

The Disaster Food Assistance Program benefits will be issued to approved households on a Bridge Card, a benefits e-card similar to a debit card that can be used at participating farmers markets and eligible retail stores to redeem benefits.

Once approved, benefits will be available starting the following day. For a list of SNAP authorized stores and farmers markets, see the USDA’s SNAP retailer locator.

For more details about disaster food assistance, visit Michigan.gov/FoodAssistance.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.