Written by Jenn Cosgrove
If you're a resident of Michigan and need assistance with groceries, you may be eligible to receive food stamp benefits in the form of a credit card called the Michigan Bridge Card. This card works just like a regular ATM or debit card.
Michigan's program for Food Assistance (FAP) supplies these benefits those with low incomes providing healthy foods for individuals and families. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the state of Michigan, the Food Assistance Program is run by your local Department of Human Services.
The cost of the program is shared between both the state and federal government. Eligibility is determined by Michigan's Department of Human Services.
In order to become eligible for FAP benefits, Michigan's Department of Human Services must determine if you meet certain requirements such as; the number of people in your household, your monthly income, and resources such as available cash, bank accounts, etc.
Forms of income can include your employment check as well as any other income you may be receiving such as Social Security, unemployment, and SSI.
All members of the household who purchase and prepare meals together are counted. Children under age 22 who live at home are covered in their parents' FAP case. Some college students are also eligible.
Your family income can be up to 200% of the poverty level in income, depending on your expenses.
There are also certain expenses you may have which are taken into consideration when determining family eligibility, such as child support payments or medical expenses for disabled and elderly family members.
You must have an annual household income of less than:
For larger households, add $660 for each additional person in the home.
Your family must also have less than $5,000 dollars in assets to be eligible for FAP. But, the value of your home and one car are not included in the asset test.
Examples of cash assets are:
Eligibility is also determined by the FAP on the requirement that your household has at least one citizen or qualified legal immigrant in your family. Even if other family members do not have legal immigration status, this will not stop your application.
You must live in Michigan to qualify for FAP, and your family cannot receive cash assistance from any other state.
To apply for FAP you can submit an application to the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS). The application process usually takes around 30 days to complete.
The fastest way to apply is online through the DHS website, called MI Bridges.
You can also apply in person at your local DHS office. Your local DHS office will give you a general application form, but it may be easier to print an application form and fill it out completely before going to DHS.
Create your new account and then click "Apply for Benefits" button. You can start a new application and return to it later.
You do need some basic information to start an application, such as:
You may also have to prove the income for other family members living in your household.
The application process is necessary in order to determine your eligibility. Fill it out to the best of your ability. You may be required to send in extra information not listed above so be sure to keep all your household information together and handy.
Once the application process is completed, you will be contacted by a DHS representative to find out more information and see what you qualify for. You can look up the status of your application through the MI Bridges website.
The Bridge Card looks and works like a regular ATM or debit card. When you're ready to pay for your groceries at the sales counter, swipe your EBT card through the credit card machine, enter your PIN number, and you're set!
If you take a look at your receipt, you'll see the remaining balance on your card.
There is no out of pocket expense to use your Michigan Bridge Card for Food Assistance transactions. You do not get cash back when you use it.
Your Food Assistance benefits are automatically deposited to your Michigan Bridge Card account on the same day of each month you are eligible.
Whether you're from Detroit, Grand Rapids, Warren, Sterling Heights, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Flint; all cities in the state are covered under the Bridge Card card.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture decides which food items can be purchased with the EBT card in Michigan.
Fresh produce, fresh meat, frozen goods, canned goods, pasta, milk, cheese and eggs are all eligible to buy with your EBT card. In fact, most grocery items are eligibile and you can use your card with store and manufacturer coupons from GCN.
There are certain food items you can't buy with an EBT card in Michigan.
Hot and prepared foods, such as rotisserie chicken or meal items from a store's deli area aren't eligible, nor are any foods meant to be eaten on-site, such as in a restaurant. Exceptions to this are home-delivered meals for the elderly or disabled, or soup kitchen meals for the homeless.
You also can't buy alcohol, cigarettes, paper materials, cleaning supplies or magazines with your EBT card.
For more information, contact Michigan's below services directly.
Department of Human Services
235 S. Grand Ave.
P.O. Box 30037
Lansing, Michigan 48909
Cash, Food, Medical, or Home & Burial Assistance: 1-855-275-6424 (1-855-ASK-MICH)
Child Support: 1-866-540-0008
Report Abuse and Neglect: 1-855-444-3911
Media Inquiries: 517-373-7394
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