Tell Michigan Legislators to Increase Access to Food Assistance!

In Michigan, one in seven children face hunger. Access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is one of the foremost ways in which families grappling with food insecurity can find relief. However, Michigan applies an asset test that requires families to have no more than $15,000 in assets, including the value of their vehicles and any bank account savings, in order to qualify for SNAP benefits. This means that instead of SNAP helping to keep a household stable during a crisis like a layoff or other sudden loss of income, low-income families may be forced to first sell their reliable car and/or deplete their savings account in order to get vital support.

That is why we are urging our legislators to eliminate the use of the asset test.

United Way for Southeastern Michigan is committed to ensuring that households can access basic necessities and that children are thriving. Eliminating the asset test will increase access to SNAP, address food insecurity and improve health outcomes for working families. In addition, removing the asset test would improve educational and employment opportunities, as individuals will be able to keep their vehicles that enable them to get to school or work.

Michigan children and families are counting on SNAP. Contact your elected officials below to urge their support for eliminating the asset test!
Dear [X],

I am writing today to urge you to support SB 35, which will combat widespread hunger and remove a barrier to food security by eliminating the use of the asset test.

With Michigan families still grappling with the economic challenges brought about by the pandemic and inflation, now is an opportune time to address the pervasive issue of food insecurity. For the one in nine individuals in Michigan who face hunger, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program offers much needed support in times of crisis. However, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) applies a $15,000 asset test, requiring that beneficiaries not have more than that amount in the value of vehicles and any bank accounts to receive SNAP benefits. This penalizes families for their prudence and long-term saving and inhibits their economic independence.

When subjected to the use of the asset test, households are forced to deplete their savings or sell their reliable vehicle in order to receive the support they need during a crisis such as a job loss. The asset test penalizes households for owning a vehicle, which is crucial for their access to other necessities such as education, employment and health care.

In Michigan, statewide health care costs associated with food insecurity are above the 75th percentile nationally and one in seven children face hunger. It is crucial that Michigan works to alleviate hunger and its health, social and economic effects by joining the 34 other states that do not have asset tests for food assistance. SB 35 takes a necessary step to improve the accessibility of SNAP and reduce food insecurity. Please support this bill to ensure that children and families have access to the food they need to thrive.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my thoughts on this important issue and for your service to our community.
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