For low-income households, food stamps allow individuals and families to purchase food for a healthy diet and nutrition. In Michigan, the Food Assistance Program is under the Department of Human Services, however it is federally funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under SNAP. Both the state and federal government share the costs of the program, and it is Michigan's Department of Human Services determines eligibility for Food Assistance Program. With FAP benefits, you receive a EBT card that you can use like cash at any store that accepts food stamps to buy approved foods. Eligibility depends mostly on the financial income of the applicant and household size. There are also specific limitations on the type of food and what that food can be used for that you purchase with your EBT card. In general, you can purchase any food or food product intended for human consumption besides alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and foods prepared for immediate consumption. Seeds and plants are also eligible to be purchased with benefits. You can also purchase meals prepared by organizations that are approved by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) or meals that are prepared and served to eligible residents for example by a shelter for battered woman and children, adult foster care homes and substance abuse treatment centers. You can find out more information about the program and eligible food items by visiting the Department of Human Services website.
Applying for Food Stamps
You can apply online for food stamps using the MI Bridges portal from the Department of Human Services. You must first create an account and then click the "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 your social security number, income and resource information, and household size. You may also have to prove the income for other family members living in your household. The purpose of the application is to determine your eligibility, so you may be required to send in extra information. You will also need to complete a mandatory interview that also determines your eligibility further. After your application is processed, you will be contacted by a DHS representative to find out more information and see what you qualify for. You can always check the status of your application of an application through the MI Bridges website. If you prefer to visit in person, or you want to mail in a form, you can request a printed form or talk to a representative who can fill out a form for you by calling 1-855-ASK-MICH.
Receiving Food Stamps
Your application will determine if you are eligible, but you should be aware of the eligibility requirements. Your citizenship, assets, income, expenses and employment will factor into your eligibility. You must be a U.S. citizen to receive benefits and a resident of Michigan. There is also an asset limit (sometimes referred to as resources). Your countable income comes from wages, self-employment earnings, rental income, child support, social security benefits and veterans benefits. There are some allowable expenses such as shelter, obligated child support, disability expenses and medical support. You can do an eligibility check through MARS, the Michigan Assistance and Referral Service. Once you are approved, you will receive an EBT card to use towards approved food. You will receive a monthly deposit that is a predetermined amount. If your status changes, you can report to your application through the MI Bridges portal or by contacting a local Michigan DHS office.
Finding Food Service Locations
SNAP is the federal name for the food assistance programs. Every state has multiple SNAP locations. In fact, every county should have multiple locations where you can use your card. You can find specific locations near you using the SNAP retailer locator on the federal website. You can also contact 1-855-ASK-MICH to inquire about the program and benefits that you may qualify for. You can also contact a local office by consulting the County Composite Directory of DHS offices. Each of these listings has an address and number for a local office near you.