Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that would end cash assistance welfare benefits after a family has been receiving payments for 48 months or more.
About 12,600 cases, many of them families with children, will close and lose their benefits when the law takes effect on October 1.
In a statement, Governor Snyder says four years should be long enough for people to become self-sufficient and some people have been getting cash assistance for as long as 14 years.
Critics of the new limits say many of the people who will lose assistance are families with children, and many of the people who lose the benefits are adults who can’t find a job in a bad economy.
Governor Snyder’s administration says caseworkers will still make sure families who lose benefits will continue to get Medicaid coverage, food assistance, and help with training and job searches.
The savings to taxpayers is pegged at $65 million dollars in the upcoming fiscal year.
Republican state lawmakers say this won’t be the final word this year on changes in the welfare system.
The State House could vote as soon as this week on more limits to public assistance, including making sure automatic teller machines in casinos cannot accept Bridge Cards to make cash withdrawals, and canceling the cards of people with outstanding warrants.