The state of Michigan offers food stamps to low-income residents who need assistance paying for basic groceries. This program is designed to help reduce hunger among low-income families, the elderly and people with disabilities. In Michigan, this program is referred to as the Food Assistance Program (FAP). However, the FAP is funded through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In turn, the SNAP program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and managed in Michigan by the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
In Michigan, some SNAP recipients are required to work, train or volunteer for a minimum number of hours per week in order to receive benefits. However, not all recipients face this requirement. For most applicants, eligibility is determined by income, assets and family background. The sections below describe the eligibility requirements, application process and benefits available through the Michigan FAP.
Learn About Michigan Food Stamps Requirements
General requirements for food stamps eligibility in Michigan take into account the assets and income of all members of your household. As such, any individual who contributes to household groceries and meals is considered in your application. Therefore, if you have a roommate who you split groceries with, his or her income must be included in your application.
Along with income, household expenses are also taken into account. For instance, medical expenses for members who are 60 years or older or who have a disability are taken into consideration. The state also considers the cost of dependent care, child support and shelter-related expenses.
Michigan’s food stamp qualifications state that you should not have more than $5,000 in assets, excluding the value of one home and one household vehicle. You must include all cash, savings and investments as well as some trusts when calculating your household assets. Additionally, in order to meet the Michigan SNAP eligibility guidelines, all members of a household must be U.S. citizens or legal residents, as well as Michigan residents.
All earned and unearned income is considered during the assessment of an applicant’s food stamps eligibility. This includes, but is not limited to, W-2 wages, self-employment wages, Social Security benefits and veteran benefits. In general, your net household income should not exceed 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) in order for you to qualify for benefits.
Generally, this means that a household of three individuals should not earn more than $1,732 in monthly net income. Net income relates to the earnings you receive after taxes are taken out. Overall, your gross income should not exceed 130 percent of the FPL. For a family of three, that is equivalent to $2,252 in monthly income. Gross income is your income before taxes.
If you receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or another form of federal assistance, you may automatically be deemed eligible for SNAP benefits. If you are an able-bodied adult between the ages of 18 and 49, you may need to meet work, training, education or volunteer requirements in order to receive and maintain your benefits. Download our free guide to learn more about how to qualify for SNAP benefits.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Michigan
Michigan residents can apply for food stamps online, in person or by mail, depending on their preference. Overall, the easiest way to obtain benefits is to file an online application. In any case, every SNAP application form asks applicants to provide the address, full names, birthdays, Social Security Numbers (SSNs) and citizenship status of all household members.
Additionally, individuals must mention if anyone in the household is pregnant, in school, in the U.S. Armed Forces or have a disability. Applicants must list all income sources, assets and savings among household members, including all vehicles and properties. This application process also inquires about regular monthly expenses, such as student loans, medical expenses, child support and more.
You must fill out the form completely and accurately in order to apply for food stamps in Michigan. Leaving out information, filling out the form incorrectly or providing contradictory details could result in a delay or denial. As such, before you submit your application, double check the information listed to confirm that it is all accurate.
Part of the form requires you to give permission for the state to contact landlords, employers and others. Be aware that after you submit your food stamp application, the state will reach out to such individuals in order to verify the information on your form. According to Michigan law, the state must approve or deny a food stamp application within 30 days of receiving it. Download our free guide to learn about the steps that take place during the SNAP application process.
Find Out About SNAP Benefits in Michigan
Once you are approved for SNAP benefits in Michigan, you will receive a Michigan Bridge Card. This card is reloaded on a monthly basis to give you funds that may be spent on groceries. When you first receive the card, you must activate it and select a personal identification number (PIN). You can also contact the Bridge customer service to check your balance, report your card missing and more.
You can use the food stamp benefits card at retail locations and farmers’ markets to purchase fresh and nutritional food. However, the exact amount that you are eligible for depends on your household makeup and finances. Anything you purchase with a Bridge card is automatically exempt from sales tax. With this card, you can purchase basic groceries for your family.
On the other hand, you cannot use your food stamp benefits card to purchase items such as paper towels, bathroom items or pet food, nor can you use it to purchase hot foods or ready-made meals. You can only use the card to purchase grocery items that you will prepare at home. Household items, pet food or ready-made meals must be purchased independently.
Michigan also has a SNAP Education (SNAP-Ed) program in place to help individuals on the program learn about healthy nutrition and physical activity. All children and adults who are eligible for SNAP benefits can access this program, which provides evidence-based nutrition information and aims to reduce the risk of diet-based health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.
The program is distributed at a variety of locations, including child care sites, schools, faith-based organizations and food stores. Moreover, SNAP-Ed partners with the Michigan Nutrition Network in order to educate community members about healthy choices.
Name: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Phone Number: 517-373-3740
Address: 333 S. Grand Avenue, P.O. Box 30195, Lansing, Michigan 48909
Director: Robert Gordon