During a time where billions of tax dollars per day are being spent on ambiguous wars abroad, a silent war is being waged on the poor right here on American soil. In true Republican form, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a stringent four-year limit on cash welfare benefits which threaten to leave tens of thousands of residents without cash as early as October 1st – because of course, the only ones who are deserving of financial assistance are those individuals wallowing at the very top tier of the income bracket.
After lowering the hatchet, Gov. Snyder went on record to say,
“We are returning cash assistance to its original intent as a transitional program to help families while they work toward self-sufficiency and also preserving our state’s integral safety net for families most in need… Affected recipients are able-bodied and have had at least four – some as long as 14 or more – years to transition to independence.”
He stated that those affected will continue to be eligible for food stamps, health care coverage through Medicaid, child care and emergency services.
As a result, on Oct. 1 approximately 11,000 households will lose their $500-a-month benefit. Those exempt, which received final legislative approval Aug. 24, are those who have a disability and are unable to work, those caring for a disabled spouse or child, those who are 65 and older who receive little or no Social Security benefits, AP reports. Victims of domestic violence that required the assistance of law enforcement may also be temporarily exempted.
Gilda Jacobs of the Michigan League for Human Services estimates that 41,000 will lose their cash assistance by October 1, including a staggering 29,700 children – a move that will save the state more than $60 million annually, according to a House Fiscal Agency analysis.
“We’re very, very concerned,” Jacobs said. “As the days go by, new people will be meeting the 48-month limit. … More will be falling off that cliff. We still have to preserve a safety net for people who, through no fault of their own, can’t find a job,” she said, admitting that most cash assistance goes toward montly rent. “There’s obviously a lot of anxiety out there. Folks aren’t sure exactly what this means to them.”
To top it off, this new law leaves practically 30,000 children in a lurch while their parents struggle to gain employment in a scarce market. “With unemployment at nearly 11 percent and half of jobless people looking for work for six months or longer, we know that jobs are not readily available to absorb nearly 41,000 people leaving the state’s cash assistance safety net in October,” Jacobs adds, “The jobs just don’t exist. It will be a hard, hard winter for many of these families.’’