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Farah Siddiqi, Producer
Thursday, August 3, 2023
Michigan families no longer need to spend down their savings and be restricted to having only $15,000 in assets to receive SNAP benefits.
Gov. Whitmer recently signed Senate Bill 35 into law, making Michigan the 37th state to eliminate the SNAP asset test.
Julie Cassidy, senior policy analyst at the Michigan League for Public Policy, emphasized food assistance is especially important to families and local economies in rural communities where child poverty and food insecurity rates tend to be the highest.
“Children need proper nutrition for growth and development especially for brain development at this critical time in their lives,” Cassidy explained. “Well-fed kids are healthier and achieve greater success in school and that has a huge impact on their well-being for the rest of their lives. So we should not be taking food money away from Children because their parents have managed to save for an emergency.”
According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, from 2019 to 2021, 19% of Michigan children younger than 18 were living in households that were food insecure at some point during the previous year. The repeal of the SNAP asset test will ensure more children can access the food they need to be strong for school and play while their parents focus on the future.
The asset test repeal will help stimulate local economies by ensuring families have enough money to buy food at their local grocers and farmers markets. Cassidy pointed out food assistance frees up money in a family’s budget to pay for other basic needs like rent and utilities, and reduce health care spending.
“It’s also an important stimulus for local economies,” Cassidy asserted. “Every $1 redeemed it snap benefits generates $1.54 in economic activity and that supports jobs in grocery stores, agriculture and transportation. Also, about one in 10 Michigan workers use SNAP to feed their families. So making food assistance more accessible is critical to a strong workforce in our state.”
According to the Center for Law and Social Policy, the asset test repeal will allow low income families more financial independence, open bank accounts, save for emergencies, and conduct basic financial transactions without large fees or interest payments.