How to Apply for Food Stamps in Michigan
The food stamps (SNAP) program in Michigan is administered by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). If you are interested in learning about how to apply for food stamps in Michigan, we can help. In this post, we will walk you through what you need to know to apply for SNAP Benefits. You will learn about the eligibility requirements, including the most important criteria – the income limit.
We will also provide information on how much you will likely receive in food stamps if you are approved for benefits.
Finally, we will then provide the step-by-step application process, to include the documents you need to successfully apply for food stamps.
This post will cover:
Overview of the Food Stamps Program
How Much You Could Receive In Food Stamps
Michigan Food Stamps Eligibility Requirements
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Michigan
What Happens After You Apply
About Food Stamps Program
The SNAP Benefits program, also known as food stamps offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible individuals and families.
The program is aimed at those who work for low wages, have low income or no income. You may not be denied food stamps benefits solely because you were denied from other state of federal programs.
The program is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The states are responsible for distributing benefits at the local level.
The food stamps program is the largest economic assistance program offered by the federal government to fight hunger and provide nutrition assistance.
In 2016, the government spent $70.9 billion on the program, helping roughly 44.2 million Americans (14% of the population).
Who Can Apply for Food Stamps
The food stamps program was created to help stop hunger and to improve nutrition and health of those on low income.
The program helps people with limited money buy the food they need for good health. This includes individuals who:
- Have a job but have low income
- Are living on a small or fixed income
- Have lost their job
- Are retired or disabled and not able to work
How Much In Food Stamps Will I Receive?
The amount of food stamps benefits you will receive if approved is based on your household size and countable income after all deductions are applied.
Keep in mind that households with an elderly or disabled person are given special consideration.
The table below shows the maximum amount you could receive depending on the number of people in your household.
What Can I Buy with Food Stamps?
There are strict requirements about what you can and cannot purchase with food stamps.
Generally, food stamps benefits may only be used to purchase food for human consumption and seeds/plants to grow food at home.
Food Stamp benefits cannot be used for: household items, grooming products, tobacco, alcohol products, pet food, etc. Here are the allowed food items:
You can use your benefits to buy foods such as:
- Breads and cereals.
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Meats, fish, and poultry.
- Dairy products.
- Seeds and plants to grow food for your family to eat.
You cannot use your benefits to buy:
- Non Food items (pet foods, paper products, soaps,
- household supplies, grooming items, toothpaste, cosmetics, etc.).
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco.
- Food that will be eaten in the store.
- Hot foods (food cooked and served hot at the store).
- Vitamins and medicines.
Michigan Food Stamps Program
The food stamps program in Michigan is run by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
We are going to describe in detail what you need to successfully apply for food stamps in Michigan.
Michigan Food Stamp Eligibility Requirements
To apply for food stamps in Michigan, you have to meet the eligibility requirements listed below.
Of all the requirements, the income limit is the biggest factor that determines whether you are approved for benefits.
Make sure you review the income limit to be sure you are eligible before applying. If you determine that you are not eligible, there may be other nutrition assistance program you may be eligible for.
To apply for food stamps in Michigan, you must be a resident of the state of Michigan.
Only United States Citizens and certain categories of lawfully admitted non-citizens can apply for food stamps. See our detailed article on the topic here.
If your income (based on your family size) is less than or equal to the amounts in the charts below, you may be eligible for SNAP benefits.
Gross income means a household’s total, non-excluded income, before any deductions have been made such as taxes or other withholdings.
Net income means gross income minus allowable deductions.
- If your household’s gross income is below these amounts, it does not ensure that you will be eligible for a benefit.
- A SNAP budget must be calculated for your household in order to determine eligibility and benefit amount.
- The only way to determine if your household is eligible for SNAP benefits is to apply.
For a detailed post on how to calculate your gross and net income, and documents you will be required to resent to support your food stamps application, click here.
What Counts As Income?
Cash income from all sources, including earned income (before payroll taxes are deducted) and unearned income, such as cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and child support are all counted towards your income for food stamps purposes.
Households with an elderly or disabled person are given special consideration, including higher asset limit, are exempted from the gross income test, and are allowed and more excess shelter/utility cost deduction, and medical expenses over $35 per month.
Households may have $2,250 in countable resources (such as cash or money in a bank account) or $3,500 in countable resources if at least one member of the household is age 60 or older, or is disabled.
What Counts as Resources?
Resources that could be available to the household to purchase food, such as amounts in bank accounts.
Items that are not accessible, such as the household’s home, personal property, and retirement savings, do not count. Most automobiles do not count.
How to Apply for Food Stamps In Michigan
There are four ways in which you can apply for food stamps in Michigan:
1. Apply Online
You can apply for food stamps in Michigan online at the MI Bridges website as shown above.
2. Apply Over the Phone
3. Print Out the Application and Mail/Fax it In.
4. Apply in Person
You can also apply in person at an MDHHS County Office. To find a location near you, click here.
Documents You Need to Apply
Here are the documents you will need to apply for food stamps in Michigan:
- Proof of Identity
- Proof of State Residency
- Proof of Income
- Proof of Expenses
- Proof of Disability (if Applicable).
- Proof of Alien or Citizenship Status
For proof of citizenship, you will need to present one of the following documents:
- Birth certificate
- Military service records
- US Passport
- Naturalization Certificate
- Permanent resident card/Green card
What Happens After You Apply
After you apply for food stamps in Michigan, you must complete an interview with a representative of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
You will have to attend a face-to-face interview. During the interview, and you will be required to provide verification of your income and expenses.
If you are elderly or physically unable to travel to the DHHS office for the interview, you can apply for a waiver, which is granted on a case by case basis based on hardship.
If your waiver request is granted, the face-to-face interview will be replaced with a phone interview.
If your application is approved, you will start receiving benefits no later than 30 days from the date you submit your application.
Do You Need Benefits Sooner?
With identification, you may get emergency food stamp benefits within 7 calendar days if you meet one of the following criteria:
- you have less than $150 in monthly gross income and no more than $100 in liquid resources;
- you have shelter costs that are higher than your gross income and liquid resources; or
How will I Receive Benefits?
If you are approved for Michigan food stamps, your monthly benefit will be deposited monthly on an electronic benefits card (EBT Card), also called the MI Bridge Card.
It is a plastic debit card with your name and card number on it as shown above.
Your EBT Card can be used to buy groceries at stores that accept food stamps.
How Long Can I Be on Food Stamps?
There are no limits to how long you can get food stamps if you have children/dependents living in your household or are under age 18 or over age 50.
However, If you are a single, able-bodied adult without dependents in your home, you can only receive food stamps for 3 months in a 36-month period.
Michigan Food Stamps Work Requirements
If you Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents (ABAWD) – meaning you are an individual age 18 through 49 who do not live with a child under 18 and who is fit for work – then you must comply with the work requirements to continue to receive food stamps.
The rules state that ABAWDs can only get food stamp benefits for 3 months in 3 years unless they meet certain special work requirements or are excused.
However, there are exceptions to the 3-month limit. If you are an ABAWD, you may be exempted from the time limit work requirements if you:
- Work an average of at least 20 hours per week each month in unsubsidized
- Participate 20 hours per week in an approved employment and training program; or
- Participate in community service by volunteering at a nonprofit organization.
You may be exempt from meeting work requirements if you meet any of the following
- Are physically or mentally unable to work 20 hours a week.
- Receive Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance due to disability or blindness, or receives Supplemental Security Income or State Disability Assistance.
- Receive or are an applicant for unemployment benefits.
- Participate in a drug or alcohol treatment and rehabilitation program.
- Attend training or college at least half-time and meet the student eligibility criteria to receive food assistance.
- Care for an incapacitated person or a child under age 6.
- Are pregnant.
- Are a victim of domestic violence.
- Reside in a household with a child under age 18.
If you meet the eligibility for food stamps in Michigan, you can start receiving benefits no later than 30 days from the date you submitted your application to the MDHHS.
Able-Bodied Adult Without Dependents must meet the work requirements to receive benefits unless exempted as outlined above.
We hope this article has been helpful in providing you the information you need to apply for food stamps in Michigan.
If you have any specific questions about the application process that have not been addressed in this post or if you would like to share your experience applying for food stamps in Michigan, please let us know in the comments section below.