LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan has begun notifying some families receiving welfare benefits that their federal assistance is running out. The move could affect nearly 14,000 families who had secured an extension on the 5-year federal limit to receive benefits.

Letters began going out Tuesday that include contact information for caseworkers who will try to help families find other assistance programs. They also encourage recipients to call United Way’s referral service for help getting additional assistance, if needed.

“I’m concerned” about the families, said Michigan Department of Human Services Director Maura Corrigan, “but we’re here to help them make that transition – to fulfill the intent of the law and to get them to self-sufficiency.”

The notices come at the same time the state is revamping how it hands out assistance, Corrigan said. In July, the Senate passed a new measure that would place a stricter four-year lifetime limit on welfare benefits. If the bill passes the House, more than 12,000 Michigan families could be booted from state welfare rolls.

The state aims to save millions of dollars in the next budget with such changes. The limit could begin Oct. 1, Corrigan said.

Critics have argued that such a limit would boot some needy families off public assistance.

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 unless it’s renewed or changed by lawmakers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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