Michigan Senate Votes To Limit Welfare Benefits

LANSING (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan Senate has passed a new limit for families receiving welfare benefits.

WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports some 12,600 families will lose their welfare benefits after four years after Gov. Rick Snyder signs this legislation at a savings for the state of $60 million.

While the Democrats worry about the cost to Michigan families, Republicans say the hope is that they don’t get that far.

“We hope they never get to four years, and when the economy begins to come back there are jobs. I would tell you there are jobs out there now that people are not taking,” said one GOP State Senator.

“Are they the best jobs? No. We all know that. But there are jobs available,” he said.

The measure passed 24-12 with Democrats voting as a bloc to oppose it.

Critics say the limits would boot some needy families off public assistance. It “will result in families losing much-needed assistance in the worst economic downturn in years,” said Sen. Vincent Gregory, a Democrat from Southfield.

“We should be lifting up our families and encouraging them to self-sufficiency. Ninety percent of these families are working poor . often trying to support children and just barely getting by. We are pushing these families to homelessness,” he said.

The legislation reflects welfare limits approved earlier this year as part of the state budget plan. The state House already had approved welfare limits legislation and will have to agree to changes made in the Senate.

Michigan’s current law has a similar time limit but it has more exceptions than the revised plan. The current law is due to expire in late September.

 The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • Denise

    Also, I think they should drug test them too.

  • Dew0530

    Does Denise REALLY believe that State assistance recipients are all drug addicts? Clearly, she and the Republicans in our Legislature have absolutely no compassion for the less fortunate among us. Many of the recipients of so-called welfare are not simply lazy and useless as the GOP would have us believe. They frequently are the victims of corporate downsizing or off-shoring. Further, the estimated $60 million savings is a drop in the bucket when viewed in relation to the State’s oversll economic condition. As far as the jobs not being taken are concerned, this GOP senator needs to get in touch with the reality that most of these jobs pay so little that a potential wotker cannot afford to pay for child care, for example, so that he/she can work and still put food on the table. In my view, this bill is a cruel discrimination against those who cannot defend themselves. I regret that I only have one vote to cast in the next Legislature elections.

    • Sick of working to support welfare

      Um, they have FOUR YEARS to find a job or go to school. If they can’t accomplish this in four years, they deserve to starve. These people need to learn to be productive members of society instead of mooching off of productive members of society.
      Most of the “less fortunate” ARE lazy, scamming, money draining, popping-out-kids-they-can’t-afford-then-expect-me-to-foot-the-bill, losers who have a sense of entitlement.
      Are there some people who need it? Yes, but those people are far and few.
      The free ride is over. Now get off your butt and take care of yourself instead of expecting everyone else to take care of you.

      • Matthew

        You have to excuse the typos there, I didn’t take the time to proof read. Also if you did the math you would see that it doesn’t balance out, and you’re right, that’s why the cable and internet are going away in another week. I’ve pretty much sold off anything we had that was of substantial value, most of which went to pay off overdue bills, with what was left we went to Goodwill to buy school clothes for my son (that was last year, I don’t know what I’m going to do this year). My boy is always in fear that someone from school will see him wearing their “old clothes” and what kind of embarrassment that will cause him. He thinks I’m cheap, I remind him constantly “I’m thrifty not cheap”.

      • Matthew

        I KNOW you’re talking about people like my sons’ mother and not myself, however I still take offense to your comment. Obviously it was a presumption on you part and not an educated comment, which you would be well aware of if you had read the entire article. Rather clearly Senator Gregory explained that 90% of these families that will lose their benefits ARE working people, which includes myself. Learning to live on $800 – $900 a month is a challenge when it used to be closer to $3500 a month. I might add that with my pittance of a wage now, I still pay taxes and I squeeze out a little to tithe when I can. $600 a month goes for rent, about $80 (average for the entire year) to utilities, $59 a month for vehicle insurance (though I usually ride a bike the 13.8 miles to work and 13.8 miles home because I can’t afford gas), about $100 a month for cable and internet connection (our only creature comforts and so my son doesn’t go crazy) and of course $55 a month for a cell phone (so we have some connection to the outside world and in case there’s an emergency with my son while I’m at work). I don’t get child support, for some reason MiDSU won’t garnish wages of a person that recieves disability for being a recovering (supposedly) heroin addict that now has some kind of epilepsy (again, supposedly). I pray that you never have to experience what I’m going through. I also hope you have the experience to meet someone like myself, I think some of your cynisism might fade.

  • Matthew

    I’ve been a single parent for almost 4 years now. I had a job that paid fairly well (about $40k gross per year) until our economy collapse. I went on a job campaign that included 3 different types of resumes for different job categories I would be compatible and filling out hundreds of applications both the old fashioned way (paper apps.) and electronically. My only success for full time employment was in a bicycle shop where I now gross about $13.5k a year. I have found great jobs out of state, but because of how the system works it is against the law for me to move out of state with my son. So if food stamps (Bridge card) were taken away from us we would be homeless in about 2 months, in which the DHS would then take my child away from me because I am unable to provide fit housing. What a fantastic thing to look forward to, thank you so much Michigan government for all of your care in this matter for the people out here that struggle to survive honestly. I guess I’ll learn yet another level of humility as I stand in a soup kitchen line with my son so that we can have something to eat.

    • Alice

      From what I understand food stamps and medicaid will not be taken away.

  • sherrie

    I understand many people are upset over the cuts to welfare. I know several people who received benefits. Some are hard working people with kids, and some are young adults who are just lazy drug, drinking worthless members of our society. Also I know someone who lies and says he is homeless so he can get food stamps when he lives with his own father and girl friend. He also sells drugs , has a long long prison record and does nothing but lie and cheat. These
    are the people that need to be cut off. I have two daughters but when they were small I myself received help. But at one time they made me pay back money that they said I was over given in food stamps because I made $5000 a year at my partime job. what kind of justice is this system. The ones that really need help never get it. The ones who have a job and still cant support their kids and pay there rent do deserve to be helped. Let the users get whats coming to them.

    I feel that they should be drug tested before they can be eligible to receive assistance.

    I had to take a drug test before I could get my job and if I get hurt on the job they make you take a drug test when you go to the dr. This is only fair.

    Its not discrimination its just common work place practice now. whats wrong with it. If someone truely needs help, then they shouldnt even be hesitant about it.

    There needs to be a better way of screening out the people who dont do and never intend on trying to help themselves first.

    thanks for listening

    • Denise

      I agree with you Sherrie, Thats what I was talking about.

  • TaxedToDeath


    DON’T BREED THEM!!!!!!!!

  • alberta

    The issue is no longer, whether they need it. After this, they’ll need that and more. I think this was an ambush, it’s moving too fast. So what if they had 4yrs, you don’t yank the rug from under this many people, at once, our economy will not be able to handle it. Nor will law enforcement be able to contain the fallout. Guess we all over looked that…….HISTORY SHOULD TEACH US ABOUT HASTY DECISIONS.

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