New policy changes will make it easier for families to receive public assistance

Oct 17, 2019
Originally published on December 2, 2019 11:01 am

Updated Dec. 2, 2019 at 10:58 a.m.:

After being delayed one month, new policies, which will make it easier for families to receive public assistance, have now taken effect. 

While there will still be strict income limits, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will allow applicants to have up to $15,000 worth of assets, up previously from $5,000 for food assistance and $500 for state emergency assistance. Assets can include cash, but not cars, and applicants will not have to provide bank statements showing the amounts in their accounts. 

The state says that reducing the amount of paperwork will make it quicker for applicants to receive their benefits, as well as lightening the workload for caseworkers. 

MDHHS says the changes will bring Michigan into the "mainstream of states." More information can be found here or at

Original post: Oct. 17, 2019 at 2:17 p.m.

It will soon be easier to qualify for food and cash assistance in Michigan. Starting November 1, a family can have thousands of dollars more in assets – and still be eligible.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says it’s a necessary change.

“A family struggling to keep their head above water shouldn’t have to become completely destitute to get a little help,” she said.

The state wants to make it easier for people to apply for public assistance. Instead of filling out an asset checklist and having department employees verify a persons’ assets, the department will take people’s word for what they own and how much money they have.

Robert Gordon is the Director of MDHHS. He says the risk of fraud is low.

“We should not visit the sins of a very few people on hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who are trying to do the right thing and trying to get by,” he said.

The state will also allow families to have thousands of dollars more in assets – and still qualify for food and cash assistance, and State Emergency relief.

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