Advance Notice: Briefs

Michigan to issue Feb. food assistance early due to shutdown

By: - January 15, 2019 9:55 am

The Michigan Department of Health and Humans Services (MDHHS) plans to issue Food Assistance Program benefits early for February as directed by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.

The move is in response to the ongoing partial federal government shutdown, which is now the longest in U.S. history.

Rashida Tlaib (left) and Hodari Brown (right) | Ken Coleman

Democratic members of Congress, such as U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) and Dan Kildee (D-Flint), have been holding events with people in their districts impacted by the shutdown, including furloughed workers like air traffic controllers and those working with domestic violence victims whose federal funding has lapsed.

For food assistance recipients, Michigan will begin issuing February benefits on Saturday, Jan. 19. Those who don’t receive their benefits on that date should receive the funds the following week, officials said. The 1.2 million Michigan residents who receive food assistance will have benefits to feed their families in February even if the partial federal government shutdown continues.

“MDHHS is pleased that the department is able to work with its federal partners to make sure Michigan families have food on the table in February,” said Terrence Beurer, MDHHS deputy director of field operations administration.

The early food assistance benefits are not additional benefits and there will be no food assistance payments in February, officials said.  

In Michigan, food assistance benefits are usually issued to clients according to a numeric schedule over a 21-day period throughout the month. At this point, MDHHS believes that Women, Infants and Children (WIC) benefits will be available for states to issue in February without interruption.

In Michigan more than 200,000 mothers, pregnant women and children from birth to age 5 receive nutritional food through WIC.

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Ken Coleman
Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.