Some residents who qualify for food assistance in the state of Michigan will have to comply with new work requirements that are in effect as of Oct. 1.
Certain federal work requirements for able-bodied adults ages 18 to 49 without dependents go back into effect beginning with the next application for assistance or case eligibility redetermination following Oct. 1, 2018.
Able-bodied individuals may only receive food assistance benefits for up to three months within a 36-month period without meeting these work requirements.
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 in an approved employment and training program, averaged monthly (available in select counties only).
- 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 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 (available in select counties only).
- 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 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.
All participants will be able to receive benefits for another three months within a 36-month period without meeting the work requirements through Jan. 1, 2020, no matter when they enroll in the Food Assistance Program prior to this date.