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Issue Alert - 10-11-02

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Nov 08, 2010

Program Area:

Food Assistance Program (FAP)

Issue Summary:

Beginning October 1st, food assistance standards and deductions have changed, as have food assistance income limits and allotment amounts.

Persons Affected:

Food assistance recipients and applicants.

For More Information:

Center for Civil Justice 320 S. Washington, 2nd Floor Saginaw, MI 48607 (989) 755-3120, (800)724-7441 Fax: (989) 755-3558 E-mail: Michigan Poverty Law Program 611 Church Street, Suite 4A Ann Arbor, MI 48104-3000 (734) 998-6100 (734) 998-9125 Fax


Food Assistance Program (FAP) eligibility and benefits are based on budgeted income, which is based in part on the amount of certain deductions from income that are updated annually. When deductions are increased, more households qualify for FAP and FAP benefits go up for some households.

What's Happening?

The FAP monthly standard deductions and the deductions for Heat and Utilities, Water and/or Sewer, Telephone, Cooking fuel, and Trash/garbage removal have increased effective October 1, 2010. The Shelter maximum (which applies to households that do not have a Senior/Disabled/Veteran (S/D/V) member) and the Non-heat electric deduction amounts have decreased by $1 effective October 1, 2010. Income limits and the monthly benefits for households with specified budgeted income levels remain unchanged. The deductions are now as follows: Standard Deduction The old and new deductions are as follows: Household Size = Deduction Amount 1-3 = $132 (old) $141 (new) 4 = $144 (old) $152 (new) 5 = $170 (old) $178 (new) 6 + = $196 (old) $204 (new) Shelter Deductions A household’s ability to deduct an amount for shelter expenses, and the amount of the deduction, depends in part on certain standard utility allowances and may depend on the standard Shelter Maximum amount that is a cap on the amount of the deduction a household can take if they do not have a senior (age 60+) or disabled member. These amounts apply regardless of household size. The old and new standards are as follows: Shelter Maximum = $459 (old) $458 (new) Heat and Utility = $555 (old) $588 (new) Non-Heat Electric = $102 (old) $101 (new) Water and/or Sewer = $ 57 (old) $62 (new) Telephone = $ 34 (old and new) Cooking Fuel = $ 37 (old) $39 (new) Trash Removal = $ 13 (old) $14 (new)

What Should Advocates Do?

Advocates should ensure that all FAP-eligible households apply for and receive the correct amount of FAP. Households that applied for, and were denied FAP before October 1, 2010 may be eligible under the new standards. The CCJ Food and Nutrition Helpline can help screen households to determine whether they would be eligible for FAP if they (re)applied. The Helpline number is (800) 481-4989.

What Should Clients Do?

Clients should contact the Food and Nutrition Helpline at (800) 481-4989 to see if they might be eligible for FAP under the new standards or to verify their allotments are correct.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services offices handle these types of cases, and they do not charge a fee. You can locate various sources of legal and related services, including the free legal aid office that serves your county, at You can also look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.