Restrictions: Generally, to receive SNAP benefits, one must be working or looking for work. The income of qualifying families must be below the poverty level, which is $1,838 per month for a family of four. A family with one parent working 40 hours per week at minimum wage ($7.40) makes an average of $1,283 a month, well below this threshold. In October, Michigan imposed one of the nation’s strictest asset tests on SNAP eligibility, making many newly unemployed families ineligible for SNAP.
Effects: The funding for SNAP benefits comes from the federal government; states are responsible for administrative costs only. Each dollar of SNAP benefits generates $1.79 in economic activity. The new asset tests increase the administrative costs of Michigan’s SNAP program and reduce the total benefits received by Michigan.
Perhaps Elizabeth Diaz has never experienced the frustration, insecurity and humiliation of long-term unemployment. Currently, there are four job-seekers in our state for every job opening. Unfortunately, Diaz’s skepticism is common, causing users of public benefits to feel stigmatized. This is one reason that many citizens eligible for SNAP decline to participate in the program. Only a third of eligible seniors participate in SNAP. Is this really the way we should be treating our neighbors?