The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is sending more than 67,000 letters this week to people on food assistance who will soon be required to start working.
The work requirements, which were already reimplemented in 14 counties, will snap back into place on Oct. 1 for the rest of the state.
In a statement, the health department explained that once able-bodied 18- to 49-year-olds attend their first annual case eligibility meeting after Oct. 1, they will have three months to find a job or lose their benefits. All new applicants will be subjected to work requirements immediately.
The requirements had been lifted in 2002 due to high unemployment in the state. Improvement in the unemployment rate led the federal government to insist that Michigan reinstate the requirements.
Anyone subjected to the requirements has to work an average of 20 hours a week each month, participate in an approved job training program for 20 hours a week each month, or participate in community service at a nonprofit group.
“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.”
In Wayne and Macomb counties, among others, Michigan Works! Agencies will help provide job training to people subject to the new requirements.
If you’re between 18 and 49 years old, have no dependents and aren’t disabled or otherwise exempt, you will have to be employed if you want to keep your benefits. Other exemptions include being pregnant, a victim of domestic violence, or physically or mentally unable to work the required amount.