Bridge Card

Politics & Government
6:05 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Banning Bridge cards in strip clubs, liquor stores and casinos ?

Michigan's Bridge Card, which provides food and cash assistance benefits.

Bridge card users could soon be unable to get cash out of ATMs inside strip clubs, some liquor stores, and casinos.  That's the idea behind a package of bills the state Senate passed today. 

Bridge cards are mostly associated with food assistance, but they also let families with kids get temporary cash assistance for things like child care and rent. 

So what happens if you live in a rural or urban area where the only ATM is in a liquor store? 

That's what state Sen. Morris Hood (D-Detroit) says he's worried about. 

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Economy
1:08 pm
Sun October 13, 2013

Food stamp debit cards back to normal in Michigan

Michigan bridge card
Credit www.macombcountymi.gov

Michigan's debit card-style food stamps program is working again after a technical problem crashed the system in 17 states.

State Human Services Department spokesman Dave Akerly says Michigan's Bridge Card system is back up Sunday.

He says that Xerox provides technical services for the Bridge Card program and similar food stamps programs in 16 other states. He says the problem began Saturday and Xerox fixed it late in the day.

U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Courtney Rowe says the outage was unrelated to the federal government shutdown.

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Economy
6:05 pm
Sat October 12, 2013

Technical problems stop Michigan food stamp purchases

Credit User mytvdinner / Flickr

Michigan residents in a federal food program are being denied purchases with their debit-style cards because of technical problems.

Dave Akerly, a spokesman for the state Department of Human Services, says it's a problem Saturday between retailers and Xerox, the company that provides high-tech services. The glitch extends beyond Michigan to at least 16 other states.

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Stateside
5:08 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

More people using Bridge Cards at farmers markets

Produce at a farmers market
user tami.vroma Flickr

So, we're still here in it.

Stuck in the middle of winter and its hard to think about putting on flip-flops, sunglasses, and heading out for fresh, summer veggies from the farmers market.

But, it seems more and more people are going to farmers markets throughout the year, and paying for their purchases with Bridge cards.

Numbers are out from last year and they show the use of Bridge Cards at farmers markets around the state went up by 42 % in 2012.

Amanda Shreve joined us today. She's the Food Assistance Partnership Coordinator with the Michigan Farmers Market Association.

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Politics & Government
9:53 am
Sun January 6, 2013

Michigan restores food stamps to all recipients

Bridge Card
www.macombcountymi.gov

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The state has added money to all of the debit cards of 85,000 Michigan food assistance recipients and families who temporarily went without the aid this week.

Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget spokesman Kurt Weiss said all the impacted cards had been restored and loaded with the food assistance benefit as of 11:22 a.m. Saturday.

The issue was caused by an employee error.

Recipients with ID numbers ending in "0" discovered money wasn't on their cards Thursday as expected.

Politics & Government
6:27 am
Sat January 5, 2013

Michigan still restoring food stamps to recipients

www.macombcountymi.gov

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan agency is still working around the clock to load money onto debit cards for thousands of food stamp recipients who unexpectedly went without the aid for a day or two.

The state says the issue caused by employee error has been resolved for most of 85,000 affected recipients and families. They can use their Bridge Cards at grocery stores Saturday morning.

Remaining cards are expected to be restored throughout Saturday.

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Economy
12:25 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Food aid back for nearly 40,000 Michigan. recipients

www.macombcountymi.gov

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Money has been added to debit cards for nearly half of 85,000 Michigan food assistance recipients who were without the aid for a day.

   The state says Friday that about 40,000 Bridge Cards had been loaded as of midmorning. The goal is to add money to all of the affected cards by day's end.

   A human error left about one-tenth of Michigan's food stamp recipients without money they were expecting to see on their debit cards Thursday.

   A family receiving food assistance gets about $540 a month on average. Those with account numbers ending in "0" were affected.

   The state Department of Technology, Management and Budget says it worked through the night to restore the money.

   Recipients of food assistance can call 888-678-8914 for updates.

Politics & Government
8:16 am
Fri January 4, 2013

85,000 Michigan recipients without food assistance


LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan officials were working through the night to fix an error that left 85,000 recipients of food assistance without enough money on their state-issued Bridge Cards.

The error has been affecting recipients with account numbers ending in "0" - or about 10 percent of Michigan's 1.8 million residents receiving food assistance. Their electronic debit cards weren't loaded with money as expected because of an unspecified human error.

State spokesman Kurt Weiss says employees have been working "around the clock" to correct the problem.

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State Legislature
12:48 pm
Wed September 7, 2011

State House votes to restrict food assistance use

Inside the state Capitol building, Lansing, MI
Cedar Bend Drive Flickr

Welfare recipients could not use their state-issued debit cards to draw cash from casino ATMs or buy lottery tickets, alcohol and tobacco under legislation moving through the state Legislature.

The Michigan House passed bills Wednesday that would restrict the use of Michigan Bridge Cards, used like debit cards for state food assistance and cash programs. The major bills passed 108-0 and advance to the Senate.

Monthly food assistance in Michigan is based on income, how many people are in their household and other criteria. Funds are made available on a debit card swiped through electronic reader when buying groceries.

Other bills in the package would require the state to deactivate a Bridge card when a recipient is in jail.

Money
5:27 pm
Mon August 8, 2011

30,000 college students cut from Michigan food stamps program

daisybush Flickr

Since April, about 30,000 college students were dropped from Michigan’s food assistance program. The Department of Human Services’ new eligibility requirements knocked off more than expected.

Brian Rooney is with DHS. He says Michigan’s rules did not align with the rest of the country.

"If you were going to college then we would count that as an employment-in-training program and you didn’t have to be working part-time, you didn’t have to be a single parent, you could be a single, average college-aged student going to school full-time and qualify for food assistance," Rooney said.

Sydney Watts is a full-time student at Central Michigan University. She says she and her roommates are concerned about losing their benefits.

"It’s hard. It’s very, very hard. I will occasionally eat out with friends and stuff, but other than that it’s Ramen noodles or just crap food because we can’t afford anything. So when all my roommates move back and everything, I don’t know what we’ll do," Watts said.

Rooney says one in five Michiganders is receiving food assistance. He says more people will be cut in October when qualifications are asset-based rather than income-based.

- Amelia Carpenter - Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics
1:00 pm
Thu June 16, 2011

Michigan gets $3.3 million for fighting food assistance fraud

user redjar

Michigan is getting 3.3 million dollars from the federal government to continue efforts to stop errors in the Food Assistance Program. Senator Debbie Stabenow said the state is improving on ways to stop errors, but there is a lot more work to be done.

"It is really an outrage when people are cheating and defrauding the system particularly when it’s something as basic as food for families. We have people in Michigan all across Michigan who have paid taxes all of their lives who never thought in their wildest dreams that they would be in a position where they needed to get some temporary help," said Stabenow. 

The senator said Michigan is keeping better electronic records on who is using the bridge card and how often it is being used. The USDA said Michigan was the most improved state last year in fighting food assistance fraud.

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Politics
10:30 am
Thu June 16, 2011

Michigan gets $3M for fighting food stamp fraud

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan will get $3.3 million from the federal government for its past work toward stopping errors in state-administered portions of the food assistance program.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture award Thursday.

Stabenow says Michigan will receive the additional federal cash as a reward for improvements made during the 2010 fiscal year related to stopping payment errors.

Stabenow said the money should be used to make further improvements in the system to prevent fraud and other abuses in the food assistance program.

Stabenow also called for continued efforts at the federal level to stop fraud and abuse in the program.

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Politics
4:28 pm
Fri June 10, 2011

House republicans aim to reduce fraud in food assistance program

Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The state provides food-assistance to low-income residents who qualify through the Bridge Card Program. The card operates sort of like a debit card instead of more traditional food stamps. They were adopted to make it easier for the state to run the program and reduce the stigma associated with using food stamps.

State Representative Tom Hooker is one of the bill’s sponsors.

“We’re aren’t trying to take food away from little kids and old people and people who are suffering. That’s not the goal of any of these bills.”

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Food Stamps
9:52 am
Thu February 10, 2011

College students to lose Bridge Cards and food aid

The state says students are not using benefits properly
Brandon Shigeta Google images

Michigan College students needing food aid will now have a harder time getting it. The state Department of Human Services will take bridge cards away from college students who don’t meet federal guidelines for food assistance.

Some lawmakers say many students who don’t really need the benefits are abusing the program.

Ingham County has the highest number of college students receiving food assistance through the Bridge card program. Michigan State University is in Ingham County.

Nate Smith-Tyge is the Director of the MSU student food bank, a service only for MSU students.

"We’ve seen an increase in the number of people we serve over the past couple of years. You can pretty much tie it directly to the economic downturn we’ve experienced here in Michigan. We do a distribution every other Wednesday, we’ll serve between 275 and 300 people, and that includes students and their dependents."

Allegations of abuse of the program have been largely unsubstantiated. Smth-Tyge says,

"I’d say that there probably is abuse, but I don’t think that you should let the outliers indicate how you determine policy. There is a real demand. We see it on our campus and I’ve talked to people trying to start food-banks from as far away as Schoolcraft Community College in Livonia to people at Grand Valley State and I think there is a real food demand for people as they attend college."

The State Department of Human Services says an unknown number of students will become ineligible for food aid April 15th.

- Sarah Alvarez, Michigan Radio Newsroom