Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign a new 48-month cap on cash assistance welfare benefits into law this week. The new limits are expected to immediately reduce the cash assistance caseloads by 15 percent. The measure got final approval from the state legislature last month.
About 12,600 people have been on cash assistance for 48 months or more, and payments to those families will end when the state’s new fiscal year begins October 1st.
“It was always meant to be a bridge and it’s become a lot longer than that in Michigan -- in some cases, many individuals or families have been on it for five, six, seven, eight, 10 plus years,” says Sara Wurfel, Governor Snyder’s press secretary.
The new limits are expected to save the state $65 million dollars in the new budget year.
Michigan’s four-year cap on cash assistance will make the state’s welfare limits among the strictest in the Midwest. Advocates for the poor say private agencies may not be able make up the difference for people who still need help. They say many of the people who take payments for extended periods are the chronically unemployed who are struggling through the poor economy.
The Snyder administration says other types of public assistance will still be available – including Medicaid and food assistance.