The state of Michigan is instituting work requirements for "able-bodied" adults in Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Clinton, Eaton, Grand Traverse, Ingham, Ionia, Kalamazoo, and Livingston counties.

What this means is those adults without dependents, who can work, will be required, by the federal government, to work if they want to continue receiving food assistance benefits. Those requirements had been waived for more than a decade.

The state's Health and Human Services Department is in the process of notify the approximately 16,000 residents affected by this order, which goes into effect January 1st, and should be in full effect sometime in 2018.

The agency says "Michigan began receiving a waiver from the requirements in 2002 due to high unemployment. The significant reduction in the state’s jobless rate over the last several years means the state is no longer eligible.

"Able-bodied adults are recipients ages 18 to 49 who do not have a disability that prevents them from working or who meet other federal criteria that exempts them from requirements. They can meet the reinstated work requirements to receive food assistance by:

  • Working an average of 20 hours per week each month in unsubsidized employment.
  • Participating for an average of 20 hours per week each month in an approved employment and training program.
  • Participating in community service by volunteering at a nonprofit organization.“

The state says those affected can contact their case worker or go to this state website.

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