State Rep. Brian BeGole this week voted to preserve the effectiveness and efficiency of a vital food assistance program as Lansing Democrats look to strip away key protections.
Senate Bill 35 removes financial verification requirements – also known as an asset test – for eligibility for the Food Assistance Program, which is the state-level program that administers the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is one of the state’s largest and most comprehensive services for food-risk families and individuals.
Doing away with these guardrails could lead to individuals with significantly higher resources drawing needed assistance away from others who don’t.
“I don’t think letting millionaires apply for food stamps is a good approach for helping families and hungry kids when we only have certain amounts of funding for programs like these,” said BeGole, of Antrim Township. “Unfortunately, these changes would create more potential for rampant abuse like we have seen impact multiple other government departments and there would be less checks and balances in place.
“We need to make sure these programs are helping people who need it the most, and determining income is a straightforward way to accomplish that. These safeguards help our most vulnerable and protect taxpayers who help fund these programs.”
Michigan eliminated the SNAP asset limit for a period in the early 2000s when federal rules first allowed states this discretion, but reinstated it at $5,000 in 2012. The asset cap under current law is $15,000.
After being advanced in the House on party lines, SB 35 will soon head to the governor for consideration.
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