(CBS DETROIT) - The more than 1.2 million people in Michigan who are eligible for food assistance benefits will receive an additional payment by the end of January that raises their monthly amount by 15 percent to help families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 15 percent increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits is for six months, ending in June. “No Michigander should worry about how they’ll put food on the table for themselves and their family, especially during a pandemic,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “COVID-19 is still a very real threat to our state, and we must continue providing crucial support to families that need it most. “I want to thank Sen. (Debbie) Stabenow for her leadership in securing this important increase and for her tireless efforts to expand access to food assistance, which has brought relief to so many Michiganders in need throughout this pandemic.” Michigan food assistance recipients will see the 15 percent increase added to their Bridge Cards by the end of January that are in addition to benefits they received earlier in the month. Food assistance increases by $102 per month for a household of four, which will now receive $782 per month. In subsequent months, the 15 percent increase will be added to Bridge Cards from Jan. 20-30. “Helping families put food on the table is our job,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “We’re glad we can provide more food assistance to Michiganders who are in need as a result of COVID-19.” Whitmer and MDHHS also are announcing continuation in January of an initiative that provides additional food assistance to 350,000 Michigan families as a response to the pandemic. Through the initiative, anyone receiving food assistance who doesn’t already qualify for the maximum monthly benefits will see their payment raised to the maximum monthly amount for their household size. Eligible clients will see these additional food assistance benefits on their Bridge Card by Jan. 30, with payments beginning for some households on Jan. 20. Anyone who receives both this payment and the 15 percent increase will receive them on the same day.

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