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New welfare limits take effect Saturday

By Rick Pluta, MPRN News

LANSING, MI – Welfare rules that go into effect Saturday that will set new limits on some welfare benefits in Michigan. Thousands of families will lose cash assistance payments because they have hit the four-year maximum on collecting benefits. The money can be used by low-income families for living expenses such as rent, food, and clothes.

Some human services advocates say it's a mistake to impose the new limits while Michigan has an 11 percent unemployment rate. A class-action lawsuit asks a federal judge to block the new rule.

Brian Rooney is a deputy director at the state Department of Human Services. He says the 48-month limit helps ensure that public assistance does not become a way of life for the families that use it. He also says the state is trying to connect people who have exhausted their benefits with other services.

"We are working very closely with different faith groups, with other community partners, with the Michigan Works Association, to help people with job placement, to help with their rental assistance," says Rooney.

As of Saturday, it will also be harder to qualify for food assistance as the state starts to count savings and other assets of people who apply for Bridge cards.

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