Senator Irwin Bill to End Asset Testing for Food Assistance

LANSING, Mich.  — Today, Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) introduced a bill to fight food insecurity by ending asset testing for Michigan’s Food Assistance Program.

Senate Bill 1127 would allow every Michigan resident who needs assistance to be eligible for the benefits they deserve if they meet federal income eligibility rules. Under current Michigan law, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients must meet several requirements to receive and maintain benefits, including meeting regular work requirements and being restricted from purchasing certain foods. In addition to these obligations, beneficiaries are subject to a $15,000 asset test requiring that they must not have more than that amount in any account to receive SNAP benefits.

“Denying food assistance for struggling, low-income Michiganians increases hunger and hurts our economy and communities. We need to be expanding access to these programs to fight food insecurity, not restricting them,” Sen. Irwin said. “Michigan is wasting your state tax dollars on a bureaucracy that exists solely to deny benefits to low-income people in our state. We should use that money to help, not punish, people.”

Food insecurity and hunger in Michigan is currently on the rise, with nearly 30% of Michigan residents expressing concern for feeding themselves and their families in April 2020. Additionally, 1,359,650 people are struggling with hunger, according to Feeding America, a number which has surely increased since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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