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Friday, September 30, 2011

41K impacted by Michigan's 48 month-assistance cut off, starting Oct. 1

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed law in cuts for welfare cash payments for women will impact nearly 1 in 10 children in some of the poorest cities of the state Detroit and Flint starting Saturday, October 1st, 2011, when families that have been on the assistance program more than 48 months are cut off.

Initial figures released, back when the law was signed in July from Snyder administration stated that slight over 12,000 individuals would be impacted by the lost in cash assistance payments. 

A new total provided by the Detroit News nearly triples the initial figure, with up to 41,000 people statewide will lose payments averaging $515 a month.

Brunt of impact of the harsh 48 month lifetime limit on cash assistance will be felt a number of poorest cities in the state concentrations in neighborhoods deeply afflicted with blight, crime and poverty. The city of Detroit accounts for more than half of those losing benefits, according to zip code records by a Detroit News FOIA request.

Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee believes that the cutoff will lead to increased crime, especially in the 48205 zip code in Detroit, where nearly 2,000 adults and 1,500 children assistance benefits end Saturday in one of the deadliest areas of the city.
“It (the benefit cut off) gives us cause for great concern”, Chief Godbee stated.
Godbee said he fears the cutoff could lead to increased crime as he announced Thursday stepped-up enforcement measures in the 48205 ZIP code.

Wurfel, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Snyder stated the benefit cuts are needed because the state can no longer afford to do so.
"These benefits have always been intended as a safety net, not a long-term solution. More than 30 percent of those affected by this change have been receiving benefits 10 years or more," Wurfel cited.
Other changes to Michigan programs for the poor and unemployed Republicans have cut since gaining super-majorities in the state House, Senate and holding the Governor’s office include being the first state in the nation to cut basic unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 20 starting January 2012 the first in the nation to do so.

Also state Republican's passed what's called an “asset test” for families and individual receiving food assistance, provide no funding in the 2011-12 budget to fund Michigan's heat assistance program for the poor, reduced state earned income tax credit from up to $750 dollars to a maximum to $50 per family, while giving a $1.8 billion dollar tax cut to C & S corporations in Michigan.

Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri have five-year limits. Indiana has a 24-month limit, but only for adults; children's benefits have no time cap.
"While we did put a limit on how long you can be on assistance, we changed the rules so that you can work more hours without losing benefits," said Ari Adler, spokesman for Republican House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-District 63) of Marshall.
"Unfortunately, people get trapped in this dependent life. We would hope that there are jobs for people to become employed. That's why there are job training programs available through DHS," Adler stated.
Michigan’s unemployment rate reached 11.2% in September 2011, marking the fourth increase in the state overall jobless rate since Republicans took control in January, .5 percent higher than the 10.7% unemployment when former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) left office in December 2012.

Gov. Snyder comments during a presentation before the Michigan Association of Counties back in March acknowledged many residents are having tough times with the state economic climate, but he signed laws to cut programs of last resort for the working poor, unemployed and children.
“We’re still suffering in this state. I wanted to make sure we could do whatever to help these people to continue on a path until they can find a job, Snyder noted.  
“Next year, my main issue is, let’s start the job creation process. Let’s focus on bringing our unemployment rate down so we don’t have people on unemployment that’s going on for 20-26 weeks or 99 weeks.”
State House Speaker Bolger’s hopes that the budget he created would create jobs, is in stark contrast to what he stated at a town hall fundraiser in April 2011. Bolger then admitted in a little seen You Tube Clip while flipping up his drink, that his focus on fixing the states' budget woes was never about job creation.

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