(CBS DETROIT) – Food assistance for 350,000 families has been extended through December.

Michigan previously approved the additional food assistance beginning in March – and now that is being extended for the month of December with approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.

“No Michigander should have to worry about how they’ll put food on the table for themselves and their families, especially during a pandemic,” Gov. Whitmer said. “That’s why my administration is working hard to provide some support to families who need it most. I will continue working with MDHHS to help every Michigander get through this crisis.”

Eligible clients will see additional food assistance benefits on their Bridge Card by Dec. 30, with payments beginning for some households on Dec. 21. Additional benefits will be loaded onto Bridge Cards as a separate payment from the assistance that is provided earlier in the month.

More than 1.2 million people in Michigan receive federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits through the state’s Food Assistance Program.

Households eligible for Food Assistance Program benefits will receive additional benefits in December to bring all current SNAP cases to the maximum monthly allowance for that group size.

This change only applies to customers not currently receiving the maximum benefit amount. The 350,000 households that receive increased benefits represent more than 50 percent of the more than 680,000 Michigan households that received food assistance in September. The remaining households already receive the maximum benefit.

“During the holiday season in particular we want to help families who struggle to put food on the table as a result of the pandemic,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “This additional food assistance is critically important to make sure Michigan residents have nutritious food to eat.”

Eligible families do not need to re-apply to receive the additional benefits. People who receive food assistance can check their benefits balance on their Michigan Bridge Card by going online to www.michigan.gov/MIBridges or calling a consumer service representative toll-free at 888-678-8914. They can ask questions about the additional benefits by calling or emailing their caseworker.

Customer service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Spanish and Arabic service is available. If you are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing or speech-impaired, call the Michigan Relay Center at 7-1-1.

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