The F.O.R. Helpline provides assistance over the phone with filing a DHHS application. They are open Monday-Friday from 9am-5pm. They have interpreters too! No computers needed!
Nov. 6, 2020 Press Release from MDHHS
Additional COVID-19 food assistance for 350,000 Michigan families in response to COVID-19 emergency extended through November
Approximately 350,000 Michigan families will continue to have access to additional food assistance benefits during the month of November as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced today.
Michigan previously approved the additional food assistance for March through June – and now that is being extended for the month of November with approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.
“MDHHS remains committed to helping families who continue to struggle to put food on the table as a result of the pandemic,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “Providing nutritious food is vitally important during these difficult times just as protecting residents from the virus is.”
Eligible clients will see additional food assistance benefits on their Bridge Card by Nov. 30, with payments beginning for some households on Nov. 21. Additional benefits will be loaded onto Bridge Cards as a separate payment from the assistance that is provided earlier in the month.
Nearly 1.5 million people in Michigan receive federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits through the state’s Food Assistance Program
Households eligible for Food Assistance Program benefits will receive additional benefits in November to bring all current SNAP cases to the maximum monthly allowance for that group size. This change only applies to customers not currently receiving the maximum benefit amount. The 350,000 households that receive increased benefits represent more than 50 percent of the more than 682,000 Michigan households that received food assistance in September. The remaining households already receive the maximum benefit.
The table below shows the maximum allowable benefit for SNAP customers based on their respective household size:
|One Person||Two Persons||Three Persons||Four Persons||Five Persons||Six Persons||Seven Persons||Eight Persons|
The federal government is providing additional funding to states for food assistance under House Resolution 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Eligible families do not need to re-apply to receive the additional benefits. People who receive food assistance can check their benefits balance on their Michigan Bridge Card by going online to www.michigan.gov/MIBridges a consumer service representative toll-free at 888-678-8914. They can ask questions about the additional benefits by calling or emailing their caseworker.
Customer service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Spanish and Arabic service is available. If you are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing or speech-impaired, call the Michigan Relay Center at 7-1-1.
June additional benefits will be loaded on Bridge Cards between June 20th – June 30th
The Grand Rapids Public Schools just shared these P-EBT updates and information.
Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT) food assistance benefits will go to Michigan families with students ages 0-26 that are eligible for Free or Reduced-Price School Meals. This includes families currently receiving Food Assistance Program (FAP) benefits, as well as those not currently enrolled in the program. No application is necessary for eligible families to receive P-EBT benefits.
Q: When will P-EBT cards be mailed out?
A: P-EBT benefits are being distributed in waves. The first round of benefits for families with active Food Assistance Program cards started last week and will continue to be distributed through the first week of May. The benefit will go to their bridge card. Families that do not have a bridge card will be mailed a P-EBT card. These cards will also be distributed in waves. The first cards start mailing out April 26th and will continue through the middle of May. Instructions are being mailed out for how to use and activate the card.
Again, it will take until the middle of May for cards to be mailed out. Please encourage families to hold off on calling DHHS with inquiries and wait for the first round of mailing to go out.
Q: Will there be directions on how to use the card?
A: There will directions mailed about a week ahead of the card. To activate the card, call the phone number on the back of the card. You will need the EBT card number on the front of the card, your zip code, and the date of birth of the oldest child in your household. You will need to set a four-digit pin number
Q: What address will the P-EBT card be sent to?
A: If the student was already receiving SNAP benefits, they will automatically receive the P-EBT benefits on their current Food Assistance Program (FAP) card. If the student is eligible based on a Free or Reduced-Price Meal Application, a new P-EBT card will go to the address in the Michigan Student Data System.
Q: Will there be an email or phone number available for parent questions regarding the P-EBT cards?
A: MDHHS is processing cards in batches thru mid-May. If you receive calls on P-EBT cards you may supply them with this number 1-833-905-0028. Keep in mind they might not answer the questions until then.
P-EBT Student Eligibility
Q: I have multiple school-age children, how much will our family be eligible for?
A: The pre-loaded Pandemic-EBT card will come in the mail and will be in the oldest school aged child’s name, not the parents name. Keep the card for ongoing benefits you may receive. The benefit amount for March/April is $193.80 per child and will be available by the end of April. The benefit amount for May/June is $182.40 per child and will be available by the end of May.
Q: For students that attend a CEP school, will all families be eligible for the P-EBT program automatically
A: In schools where all students receive free lunch and breakfast, which in Michigan is the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), all students will automatically receive the P-EBT benefits.
Q: Do schools need to send anything over to the Michigan Department of Education?
A: For non-CEP schools, eligibility for P-EBT was based on data reported in the Supplemental Nutrition Eligibility (SNE) field in the Michigan Student Data System (MSDS) Spring Collection.
Updated addresses or student eligibility will need to be submitted through the Student Record Maintenance in the MSDS. Records that are submitted by the April 28th SRM will be eligible for April, May and June P-EBT benefits. Records that are submitted for the May 12th and 26th SRM will be eligible for May and June P-EBT benefits.
Q: Are Head Start and/or Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) families receiving the P-EBT card?
A: Students in Great Start Readiness Programs, GSRP/Headstart Blends, Early Headstart, and Headstart that were reported as part of the Early Childhood Collection as eligible for Free and Reduced-Price Meals or directly certified have been included.
Q: Are students who attend non-public schools eligible for P-EBT?
A: Directly certified students who attend non-public schools were included in the list of students eligible for P- EBT. If the student was already receiving SNAP benefits, they will automatically receive the P-EBT benefits on their card. For other directly certified students without an address with DHHS or the Michigan Student Data System (MSDS), the card will be sent to the school and the school must mail the cards to the families.
If a student was a shared time student with a public school and that school reported the student in the Michigan Student Data System (MSDS) as eligible for Free and Reduced-Price Meals, they will receive the benefit through the public school’s reporting.
There is not a state collection where F/R application eligible students are reported, but we are working on ways to try and include them at a later date.
Q: Are 18-26 special education students eligible for P-EBT?
A: Eligible, enrolled special education students are eligible for P-EBT.
Q: Do children that are homeschooled qualify for this program?
A: Unfortunately, homeschool children were not included in the list for P-EBT because they are not in the public school records. However, all Michigan children are eligible to participate in one of available Meet Up Eat Up sites. You can look for the closest site to your home at: www.michigan.gov/meetupeatup or Dial 211 to find out more information on resources in your local community.
New Free and Reduced Applications
Q: Will newly eligible students, through Direct Certification or an approved Free or Reduced-Price application, be eligible for P-EBT.
A: Yes, students with new eligibility will qualify for P-EBT. Updated student eligibility will need to be submitted through the Student Record Maintenance (SRM) in the Michigan Student Data System (MSDS). Records that are submitted by the April 28th SRM will be eligible for April, May and June P-EBT benefits. Records that are submitted for the May 12th and 26th SRM will be eligible for May and June P-EBT benefit.
Q: For families with multiple children, how will the card be loaded?
A: The pre-loaded P-EBT card will come in the mail and will be in the oldest school aged child’s name, not the parents name.
Q: What do GRPS families do if they did not receive a communication in the mail from the state about P-EBT benefits?
A: Families should be referred to Steve Slabbekoorns in Nutrition Services. He is available at 819-2135 or email at email@example.com. Nutrition Services will work with Student Data Systems to submit updated data to the state system.
Did you know that both SNAP and P-EBT benefits can be used to purchase seeds and food-producing plants? And, if you need help with starting a food garden, check out OKT’s growing tips in Growing Community, Justice, & Food or drop us an email!
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This just in!
These helpful changes to “Asset Test for Food Assistance, Cash Assistance, and State Emergency Relief” go into effect Dec. 1. If you have questions about SNAP or would like assistance with applying for benefits, call the F.O.R Helpline at 1-888-544-8773.
Posted On: January 16, 2019 By Farmers’ Markets Coalition
by Ben Feldman, FMC Executive Director | firstname.lastname@example.org
Since its inception, FMC has prioritized advocating for support for SNAP EBT equipment and administrative funding to increase SNAP access at farmers markets. In 2012, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) first began offering support using $4 million in funds from the President’s annual budget for the agency. Now, seven years later, a variety of avenues have been pursued and tested, with significant gains made: the share of SNAP dollars spent at farmers markets continues to rise, even as total SNAP dollars spent decreases across the country.
However, farmers markets will not be able to reach their full potential as fresh food access points for our low-income shoppers until markets have long-term access to no-cost, reliable, wireless SNAP processing systems at farmers markets.
July of 2018 highlighted the tenuous situation of equipment access at farmers markets, when one of the major equipment providers, Novo Dia Group, announced that they would be shutting down by the end of that month. Immediately after the announcement in July, FMC set up aninformation center where markets could find updates on the situation and information on alternative equipment options, and launched a mini-grant program to help out markets in dire need.
While temporary relief was found, farmers markets once again face uncertainty with regard to SNAP on a number of fronts. Although provisions were made to extend Novo Dia’s service through February 2019, the company has not provided clarity regarding their future. In responding to FMC’s request for additional information, Novo Dia representatives responded by saying “NDG never stated that a shutdown would occur at the end of February 2019,” and that future updates would be posted on their website.
Additionally, the unprecedented, partial government shutdown has further complicated the SNAP picture for farmers markets in the following ways:
- Prior to the shutdown, USDA Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) was exploring options for avoiding a disruption in service by Novo Dia, should the company cease operations. Since the beginning of the shutdown, no further planning has occurred and it remains unclear what, if any, options are being pursued by FNS.
- No new authorizations to accept SNAP are being processed by FNS. Farmers markets seeking authorization to accept SNAP will be forced to wait until the government reopens for there to be any progress on their application.
- Implementation of the recently passed farm bill has not begun. Under normal circumstances, USDA would be moving quickly to review the final language that was signed into law and begin the implementation process. This includes language directing FNS to ensure markets are able to operate SNAP programs without needing multiple FNS numbers or terminals. Because the shutdown followed almost immediately after the passage of the farm bill, staff were unable to make any progress towards implementation of this or other provisions related to farmers markets.
- Lastly the federal government is scrambling to ensure funding for SNAP recipients funding, resulting in the need for an early payout of billions of dollars for the month of February. The Trump administration is bankrolling $4.8 billion in benefits to SNAP redeeming outlets by January 20th. For SNAP redeeming farmers markets, this may result in an influx of SNAP dollars in the next two weeks while leaving future funding uncertain once the allocations are spent. FMC encourages markets to notify farmers and vendors accepting SNAP that there may be an increased demand for fresh foods through the program. Equally important is communicating to recipients the early funding implications, as there may be some confusions around the extra benefits received. A list of the dates each state will be releasing February SNAP funds has been compiled by USDA and can be found here.
In the meantime, FMC will continue its work to provide stability for markets offering SNAP. Throughout 2019, FMC will also continue to coordinate with markets, network leaders, elected officials and the USDA to compile and share information, assess the problem, and identify paths of action to help markets avoid a disruption in SNAP services.
Additionally, FMC will step up efforts to support the inclusion of free wireless EBT equipment for markets in state SNAP contracts through collaboration with state partners and policy leaders. We believe that such an approach is needed in order to ensure a long term solution that protects markets from the uncertainty they face today.
Our Kitchen Table received a copy of this press release from Michigan Department of Social Services this morning. While the president had fun feeding football players fast food in Washington DC, those relying on food assistance to feed their families are expected to simply fast.
The State of Michigan is trying to help SNAP recipients by providing February benefits early.