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Issue Alert - 03-10-04

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Date:

Oct 17, 2003

Issue Summary:

Dollar amounts used in budgeting Food Assistance Program (FAP) Food Stamp allotments have been changed effective October 1, 2003. PRT 250, 255 & 260.

Persons Affected:

All FAP/Food Stamp applicants and recipients


Background

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

What's Happening?

The standards used in determining how much is deducted from income, how much income a household can have, and how much in FAP/Food Stamps they will get have been updated effective October 1, 2003.The changes in standard amounts are as follows:STANDARD DEDUCTION:Group size 1-4: new $128; old $131Group size 5: new $143; old $144Group size 6: new & old $165SHELTER DEDUCTIONS:Shelter Maximum: new $378; old $367Heat & Utility Standard: new $375; old $365Non-Heat Electric Std: new & old $75Water &/or Sewer Std: new $41; old $40Telephone Standard: new $31; old $30 Cooking Fuel Standard: new $28; old $27Trash/Garbage Removal: new $14; old $13The Dependent Care Deductions have not changed.The income standards have been changed to reflect the changes in federal poverty guidelines that occurred in February 2003. The issuance tables provide for higher allotments than were previously allowed. Although the new standard deductions for smaller households are smaller, it appears that the new, higher allotments will prevent households from having their FAP/Food Stamps cut as a result.

What Should Advocates Do?

Be sure to use the updated standards, limits, and issuance tables when calculating your clients' FAP/Food Stamp eligibility and the amount they should receive.

What Should Clients Do?

Seek help if you have questions about Food Stamp eligibility. the new standards and limits may mean that you are eligible for FAP/Food Stamps now, even if you were denied in the past. Contact the Food Stamp Helpline at (800)481-4989 if you want to know if you qualify for FAP/Food Stamps or if you are receiving the correct amount.

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 (http://www.MI.lawhelp.org) or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.