Governor Rick Snyder says the state Department of Human Services is reviewing the new assets test for families on food assistance. He says the department is looking specifically into whether including the value of the vehicles owned by a household is too strict, and may be especially burdensome for poor, rural families.
Families with vehicles that have a total value of more than $15,000 dollars no longer qualify for food assistance, under new asset tests that went into effect a month ago.
Judy Putnam, with the Michigan League for Human Services, the league for human services would prefer that Michigan get rid of the food assistance asset test altogether. But the policy on vehicles does not make sense.
"We're a car state," she says. "People need cars to look for jobs, to go to schools, and most states do not have an assets test. Twenty-nine states do not have an assets test and of the states that do, all but two exempt at least one vehicle."
Governor Snyder says there were enough questions raised to warrant re-visiting the rule on vehicles.
"They're making a review right now so I don't have a conclusion because a recommendation hasn't come to me," Snyder says. "But as a practical matter, they are looking hard at that issue because it has surfaced as something we should look at."
There's no word on how long the Department of Human Services review will take. 15,000 households were notified they had lost benefits when the new rule was enacted a month ago.