Eliminate Asset Tests as Qualification for Food Assistance Benefits in Michigan

Target: Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan

Goal: Eliminate asset tests as a qualification for food stamps.

During these tough financial times, many individuals rely on the government to help supplement their income. With the price of food (especially healthy food) at record highs, food assistance benefit programs, or food stamps, play a vital role in the survival of 40 million Americans. In Michigan, where 20% of the state receives food assistance benefits, the standards are changing to include asset tests, which means that people who own cars would not qualify.

Asset tests set a limit for how much money an individual can have in the bank as well as in material assets and still qualify for the program. The new tests will deny benefits to individuals with more than $5,000 in bank accounts and some kinds of property, according to the Detroit Press.  It will also include a cap on the value of vehicles, which cannot be worth more than $15,000. In a city like Detroit with a very limited public transportation system, cars are necessary for transit, and even lower-income individuals have to have them simply in order to maintain their livelihood. In more rural places, cars are even more necessary to give people access to addressing their basic needs. $15,000 is a high bar to meet, and some publications speculate that people will sell their cars in order to qualify for the new standard, risking their livelihood and decreasing the quality of their lives.

About two million Michigan residents currently rely on food assistance programs, and that number has grown by 40% since 2008. The number of people affected by the change in standards is unknown, because the worth of their assets is not currently known. But it’s safe to say that many individuals will no longer qualify for food stamps, and will suffer for it. Alternatively, some people will do whatever it takes to stay on the benefits program, which will put them at further risk.

Sign below to tell Michigan’s Governor Snyder to eliminate asset tests as a requirement to qualify for food assistance benefits. In these economic times, more people should be allowed on food stamps, not fewer!

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Snyder:

As you are surely aware, the recession has directly affected large groups of the American population, and people these days need help. In your state, about two million people rely on food assistance benefits and that number has grown by 40% since 2008, but your new asset tests, which will be part of the qualification for this program, will surely decrease this number. Why kick those citizens who are already suffering?

Specifically, the asset tests will include an assessment of an individual’s bank account as well as his/her material assets, such as property and vehicles. In a state that relies so heavily on cars, both as a base for its economy and for transport, it is appalling that you would set the bar so high, allowing a car’s to be worth a maximum of only $15,000.

Most states have eliminated asset tests to qualify for food assistance benefits, and with good reason; they are not always the most accurate test to determine if someone needs the benefits afforded by the program. Consider the wellbeing of your out-of-work and underemployed citizens; eliminate the asset test as a qualification for food assistance benefits.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Will Go Here]

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