Michigan Food Assistance
Food Stamps * Food Banks * Food Pantries * Soup Kitchens * WIC
School Meals * Special Milk * Summer Food * Senior Nutrition
In the State of Michigan, there are many sources for help with food. The Michigan Food Assistance Program, food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens are all helping residents in need to cope with hunger and food insecurity.
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Learn more about
SNAP benefits a.k.a. Food Stamps.
Who is eligible for SNAP benefits (Food Stamps) in Michigan?
How to apply for Michigan Food Assistance?
How does Michigan Department of Human Services determine eligibility?
Approved! When and how do I get the Food Stamps benefits?
How much Food Stamps benefits do participants receive per month?
How and where to use Food Stamps benefits?
Food Stamp (SNAP benefits) in Michigan
Michigan Food Assistance Program (FAP)
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or the Food Stamps Program as it is known by the public, is a federal program that provides grants to the States for purpose of reducing hunger and malnutrition in all eligible households across the nation. SNAP helps provide healthy food to qualifying low-income families with children, elderly or disabled in each State of the USA, including Michigan.
It is important to know that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a federal entitlement program funded by U.S. Government grants. Any U.S. Citizen, even some legal alien residents, will get free food assistance as long as they meet the SNAP eligibility guidelines. In other words, there is enough Supplemental Nutrition Assistance for every American that qualifies. Learn more about SNAP.
In Michigan, the SNAP is administered by the Michigan Department of Human Services. The Federal Government oversees the State operation of the SNAP. According to the Michigan Department of Human Services, FAP provides benefits that can be used to buy food (including seeds and plants to grow your own food) for your household. People of all ages may receive food assistance in Michigan.
Approx. of the total Michigan population received Food Stamp Benefits in 2018
Recipients in June, 2018 of Food Stamps (SNAP) Benefits in Michigan
Recipients in June, 2017 of Food Stamp (SNAP) Benefits in Michigan
Who is Eligible for Food Assistance in Michigan?
The eligibility rules and benefit amounts in Michigan, like in other States, are based on a limited income, limited liquid resources, household size, and other requirements. Most eligibility rules are determined by regulations issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service.
The federal law allows States some flexibility when implementing SNAP on a State level. State agencies can adapt some of the food assistance program rules in order to meet the needs of the eligible, low‐income local population.
Michigan Food Assistance Program is designed for individuals and families with limited income resources, who compose a household, and purchase and prepare their meals together for home consumption.
In general, to qualify for Michigan Food Assistance Benefits you must meet the following basic eligibility requirements:
- Michigan Resident – must be a U.S. Citizen or a legal resident with SNAP eligible non-citizen status;
- Work Requirement – unless exempted, each able-bodied household member must work or participate in an employment and training program, registered to work, and accept a suitable employment offer;
- Asset Limits – Countable liquid household assets must be under $5,000. Countable assets include, but are not limited to, cash, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, real property excluding first home, household vehicles, and recreational vehicles. The first household vehicle is excluded, other vehicles with a fair market value over $15,000 are counted.
- Low Income – Income limits eligibility depends on household size and composition. Households with no elderly or disabled individuals must meet both gross and net income limits. Households with elderly or disabled individuals must meet only the net income limits. Gross income includes wages, salaries, commissions, dividends, child support, self-employment income, unemployment compensation, social security benefits, veteran benefits, and others. Household net income is computed by deducting certain allowed expenses from gross income. The resulting numbers must fall below the net income dollar amounts listed in the table below for your household to get food assistance benefits. This dollar amount depends on the number of people in your household.
See the table with Michigan Food Assistance Program income limits per household size below.
Some Michigan residents may be automatically or so-called categorically eligible for Food Assistance if they already participate in other means-tested assistance programs. Getting benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) federal block grant or receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can make the applicant for Food Assistance categorically eligible. Under the federal SNAP regulations, States do have to assign a gross income limit of 200% of the federal poverty line (FPL) or less in order to use any TANF-funded benefit that can make Food Assistance applicants eligible. Call 1-855-275-6424 for more information on the Michigan Food Assistance Program.
Quick Eligibility Check
Use this Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool to find out if you might be eligible to get Michigan Food Assistance Benefits (Food Stamps). The Screening allows interested in getting Michigan food stamps to provide some basic information and determine if they are potentially eligible for benefits. Although you will be notified immediately if you qualify after completing the questionnaire you still have to make and sign an application at your local County Department of Human Services.
To figure out, before applying, if you'd qualify for food stamps benefits in your state you have to consider the following:
- Your Household size: How many people you live and buy food with? Count:
- anyone you live with and buy and make food with
- children under 22 years old and,
- elderly 60+ and disabled that you make food for.
- Your Income: How much money does your household make? This includes both:
- earned income - the money you make from jobs and
- unearned income - cash assistance, Social Security, unemployment insurance, child support, etc.
Who counts as a member of the household for SNAP eligibility?
In general, anyone who lives with you and you buy food with counts a member of your household.
Your children under 22 of age count as household members, even if they buy and make their own food.
But your tenant, for example, or your adult children that are over 22 of age do not count. They are not counted in the household number for the purpose of food stamp benefits qualification.
The elderly age of 60+ and disabled people count as household members if you buy and make food for them, or you buy and make food together. If they live with you, but they buy and make food separately, they do not count as household members.
See the updated table below for this fiscal year's income limits and monthly benefits (allotments).
What is the gross and net income limit that qualifies you for food stamps?
SNAP Max Income for Food Stamps
Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020
(130% of poverty)
(100% of poverty)
|Each additional member||+$479||+$369||+$146|
Source: USDA, SNAP Income Eligibility Standards
What are the Benefits?
If approved, the Michigan Food Assistance Benefit amounts depend on the household size and the amount of their net income. USDA has maximum food stamp benefit limits per month per household size. Check the table column about Max Food Assistance Benefit per month in dollars for each size of the household.
How to Apply for Food Assistance (Food Stamps) in Michigan?
State of Michigan Department of Human Services offers a booklet that has an application form for Michigan Food Assistance Program along with other assistance programs.
You can apply for Food Assistance and other listed assistance programs. Answer all questions related to what you are applying for, fill out all required information, and mail or turn the application to the DHS office in your area.
In case you do not have all the information that is required you may turn in your assistance application incomplete but it must have your name, address (unless homeless), and signature. The DHS office must accept it with the current date. If you are approved later this is the date you will be entitled to start receiving Food Assistance Benefits.
Before a decision is made a DHS specialist has to interview you and verify all the paperwork. Most interviews are held by phone but the applicants are allowed to have an in-person interview – upon request.
The DHS may ask you to provide some supporting documents that would help DHS specialist determine your eligibility.
If the DHS finds you eligible for Food Assistance benefits, they will send you a letter stating how much food assistance benefits and for how long your household is eligible for before a review of your case is due. In case your application for food assistance is denied, you will get a letter explaining the reason for denial.
Michigan Food Assistance Approval, Rules, Proofs Required
The Michigan DHS specialist has to interview you and verify the provided information before determining if the household is eligible for Food Assistance Benefits.
Here is a list of examples of information and proofs that may be needed at the interview:
- Driver’s License
- ID Card
- Birth Certificate
- Tax Return
- Assets (cash, bank accounts, etc.)
- Paycheck Stubs
- Social Security Numbers (for all applying for food stamps)
- Self-employment records of income and expenses
- Social Security award letter
- Child support receipts
- Immigration status
- U.S. citizenship
- School enrollment
This is not a complete list and depending on the case the DHS may request additional types of proof and application supporting documents.
Applicants for FAP benefits in Michigan should get a response within 30 days from the date their application was accepted by the DHS office. When start getting food stamps benefits, households must report any changes of their situation in a set by the agency period of time (in Michigan – simplified reporting and 12-month certification) in order to assure their participation in the Michigan Food Assistance Program.
Under the simplified reporting option, households are required to report changes in income, household formation, employment, and household assets between certification and scheduled reporting periods within a set period of time.
The Michigan DHS has a list with the types of changes you must report:
- Employment – when it changes, starts or stops report is due within 10 days of receiving your first/last payment.
- Change in rate of pay – within 10 days of receiving the first payment reflecting the change.
- Bank accounts (opening/changes/closures), sale/ purchase of property, etc.
- Change of hours worked by more than five hours per week if it will last more than one month.
- Unearned income starts or stops (like Social Security, unemployment or retirement benefits, etc.).
- Unearned income changes by more than $50 per month for most programs.
- Change in assets
- Change of address.
- Housing or utility cost stops start or change.
- Anyone moving in or out of your home.
- Changes in child care need, cost or provider.
- Changes in child support amount paid out or received.
- Health or medical insurance premiums or change in coverage.
- Changes in a child’s school attendance.
Federal SNAP regulations require all non‐exempt household members to comply with work requirements. Work requirements include registering for work, not voluntarily quitting a job, and accepting a suitable employment offer for all SNAP benefit recipients age 16 through 59 if they are not exempt.
As per federal SNAP guidelines, individuals who fail to comply with SNAP work requirements without good cause are ineligible for program benefits and disqualified from SNAP for certain periods of time, depending on how many prior instances of non‐compliance there have been.
The law limits the SNAP benefits to 3 months in a 3-year period for all able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 through 49 without dependents, who are not working or participating in a work program for at least 20 hours each week.
As part of the SNAP federal grant assistance requirements, each State has to offer employment and training (E&T) program to its SNAP benefits recipients. Participants in such programs, where available, can get adult education, vocational training, job skills training for specific jobs, and work experience via short-term unpaid work assignments.
The main goal of the work requirement is to help the SNAP recipients get jobs, reduce or eliminate their dependency on the government benefits.
In Michigan, working Food Assistance Program participants must not quit their job or voluntary reduce work time below 30 hours per week. FAP participants that do not work may not refuse a job offer or refuse to participate in required by DHS employment related activities or referral to employment and training program.
Call 1-855-275-6424 if you want to find more about FAP work requirements and if you can be exempted.
Approved! When and How Do I Get the Food Assistance Benefits?
Michigan Food Assistance Program provides the SNAP benefits via the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) system. The monetary benefits of the Michigan SNAP are transferred to the accounts of qualified beneficiaries and are accessible through the Michigan EBT card, also called the Bridge Card.
Benefits are made available from the 3rd to the 21st of every month, based on the last digit of the recipient’s ID #:
Recipient ID # ends in: 0=benefits available on the 3rd of the month
Recipient ID # ends in 1 = benefits available on the 5th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 2= benefits available on the 7th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 3 = benefits available on the 9th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 4 = benefits available on the 11th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 5 = benefits available on the 13th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 6 = benefits available on the 15th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 7 = benefits available on the 17th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 8 = benefits available on the 19th of the month
Recipient ID # ends in: 9 = benefits available on the 21st of the month
If you have any question regarding your EBT Account or EBT Card call Michigan EBT Customer Service: 1-888-678-8914
How and Where to Use the Food Assistance (Food Stamp) Benefits?
In Michigan, households, and individuals approved for Food Assistance get Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards, the Bridge Card, to use their food assistance benefits at any Michigan Food Stamps Stores Near You and farmers’ markets that are authorized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Eligible food items are any food to be eaten at home by people, including baby food, non-alcoholic beverages, and seasonings. Seeds and plants to grow food for your own family’s consumption are also allowed to be purchased with food stamp benefits. You cannot buy non-grocery items with food stamp benefits, such as cleaning products, pet food, paper products, alcohol, or tobacco.
I Need Food Assistance Now. It is an Emergency!
Some households may get Expedited Services – that is getting Food Assistance Benefits within 7 calendar days if your household has less than $150 in monthly gross income and liquid resources (cash, checking or savings accounts) of $100 or less; or your rent/mortgage and utilities are more than your household’s combined monthly income and liquid resources, or a member of your household is a migrant or seasonal farmworker. In order to get expedite assistance, if you qualify, provide all required information and proof as soon as possible. Call 1-855-275-6424 for more information on the Michigan Food Assistance Program.
Michigan Food Assistance Program
Find more about Michigan Food Assistance Program
Search for Food Assistance by County and Town
Food Banks in Michigan
Michigan food banks play an important role in the overall Michigan food assistance effort to end hunger and food insecurity throughout the State of Michigan.
Their main objective is to collect food from various sources like wholesale organizations, grocery stores, and farms who have food in excess and are willing to donate.
Food banks then, sort, store, and distribute donated food to local soup kitchens, shelters, and food pantries.
The Food Bank of Michigan is such a non-profit organization that works to alleviate hunger in Michigan.
Michigan Food Banks
Food Pantries in Michigan
Food pantries offer food directly to people that need it and who have the means to cook it. They usually receive food from local food banks and in turn distribute it to low-income individuals and households at no cost.
Food pantries are typically located in facilities where received food can be stored and handled in a safe and sanitary manner.
Each food pantry serves a designated local area and most of them require prior registration and approval before food can be distributed to a particular individual or a family.
Soup Kitchens in Michigan
Soup kitchens serve cooked meals on-site to needy people at no cost. Like food pantries, they normally receive their food from local food banks.
Soup kitchens take care mostly of homeless people and people who do not have the means to cook for themselves.
They require storage, cleaning, and cooking equipment as they have to do food preparation, serving, and cleaning after the meals.
Food pantries are typically located in facilities where received food can be stored and handled in a safe and sanitary manner.
WIC Program in Michigan
Michigan Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides healthy foods, breastfeeding support, nutrition education, health care referrals to Michigan pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children during times of important growth.
School Meals in Michigan
School meals in Michigan are offered mainly through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.
The Michigan school meals programs make nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free meals available to school children each school day in the year.
School meals nutritional standards are based on the recommendation from the Institute of Medicine and the U.S. Government and teachers have reported that students perform better in class if they get regular meals.
Children getting school breakfast also had significantly reduced absence and tardiness rates, according to a Tufts University study.
Special Milk Program in Michigan
Michigan Special Milk Program offers milk to children in schools, childcare institutions, and eligible camps. Any child in a school or institution that participates in the Special Milk Program can get milk.
Schools may elect to offer free milk to low-income children. In order to qualify for Michigan Special Milk, the child must be a resident of the State of Michigan.
Summer Food Program in Michigan
Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is another Michigan food assistance program that provides free meals and snacks to help low-income Michigan children get nutritious meals in the summertime.
The Summer Food Service Program is a federal program that provides grants to local sponsors who want to combine a food service with a summer activity program.
The funding provided by SFSP ensures that Michigan children in low-income areas continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations when they do not have access to school lunch or breakfast.
Senior Nutrition in Michigan
Michigan Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) provides low-income seniors with special checks to buy fresh, nutritious fruits, vegetables, and herbs from authorized farmers’ markets. To qualify for Michigan senior nutrition special checks, the applicants must be 60 years of age or older and their gross household income must not exceed certain limits.
An application must be completed for each person in the household that wants to apply for the SFMNP benefits. Once approved, each beneficiary must reapply every year to continue participating in the Michigan Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Learn more about how the senior nutrition program works.
Sources: State Agencies, FNS, USDA