Time limits for welfare cash assistance hit state Supreme Court

Nov 15, 2012

It’s now up to the state Supreme Court to decide whether Michigan can cut off welfare cash assistance benefits to families after they reach a federal time limit.

Opponents of the policy say the state should follow its own time limit adopted by the Legislature. It would allow many families to continue to collect benefits.

The court heard arguments Thursday.

Michigan Solicitor General John Bursch said the state Department of Human Services’ policy is legal and justified.

“This is a temporary program. And, really, the judicial branch should not be second-guessing Director Corrigan’s policy choice to encourage more people to go on to these other, more permanent programs,” said Bursch.

Opponents of the policy say thousands of families will lose their ability to pay for basic living expenses if Michigan continues to enforce the federal limit.

This summer, the state Court of Appeals said the state could continue to enforce the federal cutoff.

The state Supreme Court will decide whether to rule on the case or let the lower court decision stand.