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Food stamp cuts looming in Michigan

Sep 29, 2014

Bridge Cards are accepted at the Fulton Street Farmers Market in Grand Rapids.
Credit User: Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Tens of thousands of Michigan families will soon see their food stamp benefits trimmed.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, was scaled back in the new farm bill.

Many states have been using a loophole to combat SNAP cuts through paying a higher cost for a "heat and eat" assistance program. By providing just $1 in heating assistance, states had been able to help families qualify for extra food stamps. But under the new farm bill, the minimum "heat and eat" payment is jumping to $21.

And Michigan is one of only four states that hasn't decided a way to continue engaging in these loopholes to avoid SNAP cuts.

MLive's Jonathan Oosting believes Michigan is not doing so because the state is not willing to shift dollars away from people who legitimately need the "heat and eat" program.

Critics say that Michigan missed the opportunity to bring in federal food benefits by spending just a few dollars more per recipient.

Oosting reported on the responses from some groups. They say the SNAP cuts can have a real impact on Michigan's poor, once it officially kicks in this November. 

"Michigan already struggles with a high poverty rate, and a large percentage of those people who currently fall below the poverty line are children," says Oosting.

* Listen to our interview with Jonathan Oosting above.