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Issue Alert - 02-05-07

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May 10, 2002

Issue Summary:

Deferrals under the Time Limited Food Assistance Program

Persons Affected:

Persons deferred from the 3 in 36 month time limit under FAP.

For More Information:

Center for Civil Justice320 S. Washington, 2nd Floor Saginaw, MI 48607 (989) 755-3120, (800)724-7441 Fax: (989) 755-3558E-mail:


Food Assistance Program (FAP) formerly Food Stamps

What's Happening?

The new policyThe old policy allowed a person to be deferred from the 3 in 36 time limit if they had a child under 18 years old living in the same physical household – the child did not necessarily have to be part of the same FAP group for the adult to be deferred. Under the new policy, the child must be in the same FAP group as the recipient (not just living in the same home) in order for the adult to be eligible for the deferral.

What Should Advocates Do?

Advocates should advise people in this situation that there are two ways for them to keep their Food Stamps beyond 3 months. First, the 18-49-year-old adult may add the child to his or her FAP household and continue to be deferred from the work requirement and the related 3-month time limit. Adding another person to the FAP group, however, may impact the FAP eligibility of both the FAP group from which the child is removed as well as the FAP group to which the child is added. Advocates should advise their clients of the impact that this change in group composition would have on their eligibility. The second way a person in this situation can avoid being cut off of Food Assistance after 3 months is to begin fulfilling the work requirement. There are three ways to meet the work requirement:1. Work at least 20 hours per week. Note that the increase in income that results from working may decrease or end the household’s FAP grant. 2. Volunteer at a nonprofit organization or government agency. Time-limited Food Stamp recipients who choose to volunteer to meet their work requirement must find a volunteer site on their own and get a statement from their supervisor that they are volunteering a specified number of hours. The required number of volunteer hours is equal to the FAP grant divided by the minimum wage (for example, someone receiving $135 per month in FAP would have to volunteer approximately 26 hours per month – 135/5.15 = 26.2). 3. Participate in this Food Stamp Employment and Training Program through Work First for 20 hours per week. If the client chooses this option, they will need to get a referral from their FIA caseworker to the Work First program. The Employment and Training program may consist of Job Search and Job Readiness classes, community services, and/or an education/training program.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services office handle these type of cases, and they do not charge a fee. You can locate the "free" legal services or legal aid office that serves your county on the Michigan Legal Assistance Network website ( or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738