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Issue Alert - 03-09-08

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Sep 30, 2003

Issue Summary:

PEM Item 554 - FAP/Food Stamp Households that share housing costs with another Food Stamp household or with persons who are disqualified from the household will no longer have to pro-rate the shelter expense when their FAP/Food Stamp allotment is calculated.

Persons Affected:

FAP/Food Stamp households whose shelter expenses have been pro-rated in the past because they share housing expenses with another FAP/Food Stamp household or because the expense is shared by a person who is disqualified from receiving FAP/Food Stamps.


Food Assistance Program (FAP) (formerly known as Food Stamps)

What's Happening?

Effective October 1, 2003, the Family Independence Agency (FIA) will no longer pro-rate housing expenses. Households that previously could claim only a pro-rated amount of the total shelter costs will now be able to claim the entire expense. FIA has received a waiver from the federal government that allows this change.EXAMPLE: In our example, the total monthly rent would be considered in determining the grandmother's excess shelter deduction, and the total monthly rent also would be considered in determining the excess shelter deduction for the daughter and her children's household.FIA will implement this change for each household that currently pro-rated the next time FIA handles the household's case or recertification, whichever occurs first.

What Should Advocates Do?

Share this information with clients and agencies.Advise households that share shelter expenses with another FAP/Food Stamp household or that include a disqualified household member to ask their Family Independence Agency (FIA) caseworker to re-calculate their FAP/Food Stamps to see if they will qualify for more FAP/Food Stamps under the new policy.Advise low income households that do not receive FAP/Food Stamps to contact the Food Stamp Helpline at (800) 481-4989 to see if they may qualify for FAP/Food Stamps under the new policy.

What Should Clients Do?

If you receive FAP/Food Stamps and you think you may be entitled to more FAP/Food Stamps under the new policy, contact FIA and request that they re-calculate your FAP/Food Stamp allotment.Call the Food Stamp Helpline at (800) 481-4989 if you are not sure whether this new policy will affect you or if you would like to know whether you qualify for FAP/Food Stamps and how much FAP/Food Stamps you should receive.

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 LawHelp website ( or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.