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Michigan Department of Human Services to implement 13.6 percent increase in food assistance payments
American recovery act makes funds available in April

Contact: Edward Woods III, director of communications, 517-373-7394

March 18, 2009

LANSING - Michigan Department of Human Services Director Ismael Ahmed said today that beginning in April, Michigan families eligible for the federally funded Food Assistance Program (FAP) will see a 13.6 percent increase in their benefits under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"This is good news for Michigan," Ahmed said. "A family of four, for example, will now have an additional $80 a month to spend on groceries. In these challenging economic times, that will make a positive difference for many struggling families. It will also help our department meet its mission to protect the state's vulnerable children, adults and families."

Ahmed also pointed out the impact the increase is expected to have on the state's economy.

"For every $5 in new FAP benefits, $9.20 is generated in total economic activity," he said. "By injecting immediate revenue into local businesses, FAP will help achieve the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's primary goal of stimulating the American economy."

Jane Marshall, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan, and Sharon Parks, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Human Services, joined Ahmed at the Mid-Michigan Food Bank in Lansing to share the news.

"The need for emergency food has increased dramatically lately," Marshall said. "We can help people temporarily, but we see the Food Assistance Program as the best source of food for families needing longer-term assistance."

Parks added, "There's no doubt this will have a positive impact at a time when we really need it. By boosting food assistance benefits, fewer families will have to choose between feeding their kids or keeping the heat on or paying the rent on time. It will also help to take some of the tremendous pressure off local food banks."

More than 1.3 million Michigan residents - including 656,178 households and about 500,000 children - currently receive food assistance. Participants will automatically receive their increase in their Bridge card accounts, which work like a debit card at local stores.

For more information, please review these frequently-asked questions or visit www.michigan.gov/dhs-food.



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