Michigan Governor Signs Midwest’s Toughest Welfare Time Limit Into Law

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, fifth from right in blue jacket and tan cap, joins Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, third from right, as they lead the 54th annual Labor Day Bridge Walk, Monday, Sept. 5, 2011 across the Mackinac Bridge. Labor Day is the only day pedestrians are allowed on the five-mile span, which connects Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. (AP/John L. Russell)

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, signed the the Midwest’s toughest welfare time limit into law yesterday. The law establishes a four-year lifetime limit on cash welfare benefits.
The AP reported:

Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed into law a stricter, four-year lifetime limit on cash welfare benefits, prompting advocates for the poor to warn that tens of thousands of residents will find themselves without cash assistance on Oct. 1.

Michigan’s first-year Republican chief executive said the state will offer exemptions to the limit for those with a disability who can’t work, those who care for a disabled spouse or child and those who are 65 or older and don’t qualify for Social Security benefits or receive very low benefits.

Some recipients who are the victims of domestic violence also may be temporarily exempted.

“We are returning cash assistance to its original intent as a transitional program to help families while they work toward self-sufficiency,” Snyder said in a statement. He noted that the state still will help the poor by offering food stamps, health care coverage through Medicaid, child care and emergency services.

Then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, signed a bill that created a four-year limit starting in 2007. But that law exempted many welfare recipients, including those whose caseworkers said they were making progress toward finding employment.

The 2010 election of Snyder and the simultaneous Republican takeover of the Michigan House gave the GOP a free hand to set its own course on public assistance.

The change gives Michigan the Midwest’s toughest welfare time limit, according to a survey by The Detroit News.

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