On Saturday, Oct. 1, 41,000 Michigan welfare recipients will lose cash benefits in the amount of approximately $515 each. Gov. Rick Snyder capped maximum welfare payments at 48 months. Several Michigan recipients filed a class action lawsuit to overturn the four-year cap.
Five years was the original cap on cash assistance for welfare. In some cases, extensions were available for those in need. The lawsuit says that the welfare cap violates the due process clause of the 14th amendment. They claim that the cutoff notices were vague and generic. The plaintiffs are asking a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order against the cap.
Exemptions are available for those with disabilities that make them unable to work. Those over 65, caring for a disabled spouse or child, who don’t qualify for social security or who receive low benefit payments may also get an extension.
There is some concern among taxpayers about what qualifies a person as unable to work. Chronic alcoholism, drug addicts and obesity are three problematic disabilities. These don’t qualify specifically as handicaps, but some of the resulting health conditions do qualify them. There is also concern about how welfare payments, especially food stamps, are spent.
Welfare cash assistance cuts aren’t the only economic issue plaguing Michigan. Cuts are happening everywhere. In August, 11.2 percent of Michiganders were unemployed. Let’s look at Michigan’s deteriorating economy, by the numbers.
- 2.5 million: People in Michigan who receive one or more form of welfare benefits.
- 220,000 thousand: People in Michigan who receive cash benefits. The four-year cap would reduce it to 180,000 people.
- 21,000-25,000: The number of welfare recipients in Detroit alone (Michigan’s largest city) who had their cash benefits cut.
- 30,000: The number of children in Michigan who will lose welfare benefits.
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Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben writes about people, places, events and issues in “Pure Michigan.”
Screen shot from Michigan League for Human Services.