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April 2008

In Michigan, Governor Jennifer Granholm recently proposed in her 2008-2009 State Budget a $3.00 per person increase in the FIP (welfare assistance) grant. She also proposed restoring the child school clothing allowance back to $75.00 per child. FIP recipients only receive this clothing allowance once each September. The clothing allowance was reduced last year to $43.00 per child. Both proposals, if passed, are scheduled to go in effect in October 2008.

The Governor went a step further and proposed that Food Stamps (FS) recipients in Michigan start receiving food stamps twice a month.  Food Stamps are issued once a month throughout the country, between the 1st and the 9th.  In the State of Michigan, there are 1,037,000 recipients that get $100 or more each month. So, if you receive $200 per month in FS, the change will be: $200 divided by 2 or $100 twice a month.  The change in Food Stamps distributions dates passed the House of Representatives 87-19 at the beginning of April and passed the Senate a few days later.  The Governor is expected to sign it, but there might be some problems at the Federal level.  Food Stamps are administered by Federal government with some matching funds from the state.
Michigan Welfare Rights supports an increase in the FIP grants, and we see problems with the question of FS being issued twice a month without some other policies changes being included.
Historically, Food Stamps were issued twice a month. We also received cost-of-living increases in FS twice a year. Food Stamps calculations are based on all the income in the household (household is defended as people buying and preparing food together). So, if FIP recipients receive an increase of $3.00 per person in their grant, it will decrease their amount of Food Stamps. We propose, that the Governor fight for increase in the FIP grants, and that she fight for an increase in the amount of FS that recipients receive.
Michigan Welfare Rights and all its affiliate memberships across the country for several years up to 1980 fought each year and received an increase in the grant level.  This increase stopped in 1980, and we have never recovered from those losses.  In fact we are receiving less.  The grant level for FIP recipients in the State of Michigan is below the poverty level.  So, therefore we are asking the Governor and the House and Senate to increase both the grant levels and the Food Stamps allowance (we understand that allowance for FS comes from the Federal Government.)  We must also demand that recipients need $75.00 per child for a clothing allowance each month during the school year from September to June.  Let me repeat, that we do support both an increase in FIP cash assistance amounts and in the FS allowance.  How can one legislate how poor people are able to eat if the quality of fresh foods is so poor in our communities, and the transportation is almost non-existent?
We must come together and demand a cost of living increase. All grants levels should be above the poverty level.  In fact we should be getting a "Guaranteed Annual Income" above the poverty level. Our families should be able to enjoy a standard of living like we provide for our Representatives.  The future is up to us.

Also in 2008: Water Affordability in Michigan: Marian Kramer wins Purpose Prize award for her work in implementing a water affordability plan to prevent shut-offs in Detroit.
 What is the Purpose Prize? Purpose Prize awardees in the news.


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