Fifteen percent increase in payments will help families cope with pandemic
Wondering how to put food on the table should not be an additional concern for beleaguered Michiganders already facing the pandemic — in particular, for the over 1.2 million residents who are eligible for food assistance benefits. These recipients will receive an additional payment by the end of January that raises their monthly amount by 15% to help families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statewide press release.
The 15% increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits is for six months, ending in June, the release added.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) advocated for the increase led by U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and were beyond thrilled to see it included in the recently passed Congressional relief bill.
“No Michigander should worry about how they’ll put food on the table for themselves and their family, especially during a pandemic,” said Whitmer in the release. “COVID-19 is still a very real threat to our state, and we must continue providing crucial support to families that need it most. “I want to thank Sen. Stabenow for her leadership in securing this important increase and for her tireless efforts to expand access to food assistance, which has brought relief to so many Michiganders in need throughout this pandemic.”
Michigan food assistance recipients will see the 15% increase added to their Bridge Cards by the end of January that are in addition to benefits they received earlier in the month. Food assistance increases by $102 per month for a household of four, which will now receive $782 per month. In subsequent months, the 15% increase will be added to Bridge Cards from January 20-30.
“Helping families put food on the table is our job,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “We’re glad we can provide more food assistance to Michiganders who are in need as a result of COVID-19.”
Whitmer and MDHHS also are announcing a continuation in January of an initiative that provides additional food assistance to 350,000 Michigan families as a response to the pandemic. Through the initiative, anyone receiving food assistance who doesn’t already qualify for the maximum monthly benefits will see their payment raised to the maximum monthly amount for their household size. Eligible clients will see these additional food assistance benefits on their Bridge Card by Jan. 30, with payments beginning for some households on Jan. 20. Anyone who receives both this payment and the 15 percent increase will receive them on the same day.
Below are the new maximum allowable benefits for SNAP customers based on their respective household size for January through June:
- One Person: $234
- Two Persons: $430
- Three Persons: $616
- Four Persons: $782
- Five Persons: $929
- Six Persons: $1,114
- Seven Persons: $1,232
- Eight Persons: $1,408
Eligible families do not need to re-apply to receive the additional benefits. People who receive food assistance can check the balance of their benefits on their Michigan Bridge Card by going online to www.michigan.gov/MIBridges or by calling a customer service representative toll-free at 888-678-8914. They can ask questions about the additional benefits by calling or emailing their caseworker.
Customer service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Spanish and Arabic service is available. If you are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing or speech-impaired, call the Michigan Relay Center at 7-1-1.