People receiving food assistance in Michigan now required to work

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said it has sent letters this week to people on food assistance, telling them they need to find a job to maintain their benefits, The Detroit Free Press reported.

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In a statement, the health department said it mailed more than 67,000 letters, explaining that once able-bodied people between the ages of 18 and 49 attend their first annual case eligibility meeting after Oct. 1, they will have three months to find work or lose their benefits, the newspaper reported.

All new applicants will be subjected to work requirements immediately, the Free Press reported.

The requirements had been lifted in 2002 because of high unemployment in Michigan, the newspaper reported. Improvement in employment figures led the federal government to demand that Michigan reinstate its requirements, the Free Press reported.

“MDHHS is prepared to assist affected individuals in meeting these work requirements so that they can achieve self-sufficiency,” MDHHS Chief Deputy Director Nancy Vreibel said in a statement. “The good news is that Michigan’s economy is much-improved, and the job market is far better than it was when the state received the federal waiver.”

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