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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gov. Snyder signs 48-month limit on assistance benefits, 29,700 children are innocent victims of "shared sacifice"

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Following through on his original plans to stomp on the working poor, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) on Tuesday, August 6th signed into law a stricter, four-year lifetime limit on cash welfare benefits starting October 1st.

Michigan’s Department of Human Services (DHS) will only offer exemptions to the limit for those with a disability, caretakers with a disabled spouse or child, individual 65 or older and don't qualify for Social Security benefits or receive very low benefits
Additionally, recipients who are the victims of verified domestic violence may be temporarily exempted.
"We are returning cash assistance to its original intent as a transitional program to help families while they work toward self-sufficiency," Snyder said in a statement.
Assistance programs state still will help the poor by offering food stamps –college students must work a minimum of 20 hours a week or more to qualify- health care coverage through Medicaid for women and their minor children, individuals under the age of 21, child care and limited emergency services.

Gilda Jacobs of the Michigan League for Human Services noted to Fox 2 News, that she expects about 41,000 people to lose cash assistance payments on October 1st when the states’ new fiscal budget begins. Up to 29,700 minor children will be impacted, according to the DHS.
"We're very, very concerned," Jacobs said. "As the days go by, new people will be meeting the 48-month limit. ... More will be falling off that cliff."
Many minor children due age and without the means of providing financial resources to their families are the innocent victims “Shared Sacrifice” laws, signed passed by the Republican controlled state House and Senate and signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder. 

Sparing no expense for the states’ C & S corporations, Gov. Snyder recently signed $1.5 billion dollars’ worth of tax cuts into law.

Its’ estimated that the new law will reduce the number of children and adults receiving cash assistance from 221,000 to around 180,000. Enforcing a four-year limit will allow for a money-shift from Michigan’s working poor to pay for the corporate tax cuts, to the tune of $60 million annually.

Jacobs noted it’s nearly impossible to understand how 11,000 adults will find employment by October 1st, when Michigan's July 2011 unemployment rate was 10.9%, tied with South Carolina for third-highest in the nation.

"We still have to preserve a safety net for people who, through no fault of their own, can't find a job," she said, noting that most cash assistance goes to help poor residents pay their rent. "There's obviously a lot of anxiety out there. Folks aren't sure exactly what this means to them," Jacobs cited.
State officials’ cite that assistance recipients scheduled for cutoff, will be connected with other resources, given housing and job placement assistance for up to three months beyond up to the beginning of Michigan’s coldest month of January, and mentored by trained job navigators.
"Michigan continues to face financial challenges, and the fiscal reality is that we cannot afford to provide lifetime cash assistance to recipients who are able to work," Health and Human Services director Maura Corrigan said in a statement.

"Enforcing lifetime limits for cash assistance ensures that available funds are targeted toward those recipients who need a helping hand while they find employment," she stated.
Meanwhile, former assistance families soon will join the ranks of an estimated 350,000 Michigan families and individuals who have been unemployed with little prospects of finding a job, for more than six months and in some cases over two years. 

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