Additional Food Assistance for 350,000 Michigan Families

Additional Food Assistance for 350,000 Michigan Families

Contact: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112; wheatonb@michigan.gov

LANSING, MICH. — Approximately 350,000 Michigan families will have access to additional food assistance benefits as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak and about 27,000 individuals will be temporarily exempt from federal work requirements, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced today.

“No Michigander should have to worry about putting food on the table for themselves and their families, especially during a global pandemic,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Now, tens of thousands of Michiganders will be able to access the food they need while we work to slow the spread of COVID-19. As this crisis continues, I will continue to work with all of my partners across state government to ensure support for Michigan families.”

Nearly 1.2 million people in Michigan received federal SNAP benefits through the state’s Food Assistance Program as of February.

Additional Food Assistance Benefits

Households eligible for Food Assistance Program benefits will receive additional benefits in March and April 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 55 percent of the nearly 629,000 Michigan households that received food assistance in February. The remaining households already receive the maximum benefit.

Eligible clients will see additional food assistance benefits on their Bridge Card by Monday, March 30. Below is the maximum allowable benefit for SNAP customers based on their respective household size:

  • One person: $194.
  • Two persons: $355.
  • Three persons: $509.
  • Four persons: $646.
  • Five persons: $768.
  • Six persons: $921.
  • Seven persons: $1,018.
  • Eight persons: $1,164.

Eligible families do not need to re-apply to receive the additional benefits.

“Families need a hand putting food on the table during this crisis,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “It’s our job to offer that support as quickly and compassionately as we can. MDHHS is cutting red tape, eliminating requirements that have no place today, and expanding support where we can. Our staff are doing an incredible job stepping up to the challenge.”

The federal government is providing additional funding to states for food assistance under House Resolution 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Temporary Waiver of SNAP Work Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents

MDHHS received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to temporarily suspend federal work requirements affecting close to 27,000 able-bodied adults without dependents to reduce the financial impact of COVID-19. No action is needed for eligible adults to be temporarily exempt from the requirements. About 143,000 additional able-bodied adults are already exempt from the requirement.

Effective Tuesday, April 1, the three-month time limit for failing to meet work requirements will be lifted for able-bodied adults ages 18 through 49, who have no minor-age children, and are able to work but are not working 80 hours a month. Without the waiver due to COVID-19, they could only receive food assistance benefits for up to three months within a 36-month period without meeting work requirements.

The suspension of the time limit will continue through the end of the month following the month in which the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration is lifted by the secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services. MDHHS will provide updates when it receives notice of additional changes to the  work requirements.

People who receive food assistance can check their benefits balance on their Michigan Bridge Card by going online to www.michigan.gov/mibridges or by contacting a consumer service representative toll-free at 888-678-8914.

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.

Information around the COVID-19 outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Pure Michigan Invites Fans to Experience the State Virtually

Pure Michigan Invites Fans to Experience the State Virtually

Contact: Kathleen Achtenberg achtenbergk@michigan.org

Pure Michigan is going virtual. From live cams featuring beautiful beaches to virtual tours of unique exhibits, Pure Michigan is helping bring the state’s educational, outdoor and cultural experiences to life at home through its new #VirtualPureMichigan campaign. New virtual experiences will be posted regularly across Pure Michigan’s FacebookInstagram and Twitter channels in the coming weeks as people are being encouraged to Stay Home and Stay Safe to combat the continued spread of COVID-19.

 

“During these extraordinary times, we want to continue to do what Pure Michigan does best – inspire people – while offering alternative ways to experience the stay at home and follow social distancing guidelines,” said Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “By sharing the tremendous virtual offerings our travel partners across the state have available, we are hoping that individuals can enjoy, learn and explore our beautiful state from the comfort of their own homes as they look ahead to future adventures.”

 

Organizations around the state are offering virtual experiences for all to enjoy, including:

  • Pure Michigan is providing live web camera viewings for people to take a peek at destinations including Alpena, Holland, Frankenmuth, West Michigan and the Mackinac Bridge.

 

  • The Ann Arbor Film Festival is going virtual now through March 29. The entire festival will be live-streamed for free, including all submitted films and follow up discussions with participating filmmakers. The full festival schedule can be found at aafilmfest.org/live-stream-schedule.

 

  • The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation is an internationally recognized cultural destination that immerses visitors in the stories of ingenuity, resourcefulness and innovation that helped shape America. In addition to exploring the digital collections made available on the museum’s website, virtual visitors can now explore the Mathematica exhibit online.

 

 

 

  • The Michigan History Museum offers information about Michigan’s rich past, from the time of the state’s earliest people to the late 20th century. The five-floor museum offers a virtual tour for folks to explore and learn about Michigan’s first people, the Anishinaabe and ending at the mid-20th century.

 

  • The Michigan Science Center  offers a virtual tour for kids of all ages to explore and makes for an educational experience adhering to STEM guidelines, which many schools practice. Kids can explore the health and wellness gallery to learn about the human body, the lunar and space gallery to learn about space travel and more.

 

  • The Menominee Range Historical Museums in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula encompasses three different museums for guests to explore. Each museum offers a virtual tour including The Menominee Range Historical Museum, which features more than 100 exhibits depicting local history from Native American inhabitants through the early years of the 20th century; The World War II Gilder and Military Museum, which features one of only seven fully-restored CG-4A gliders in the world, as well as extensive displays highlighting military service in the area; and the Cornish Pumping Engine and Mining Museum, which showcases the largest steam-driven pumping engine built in the United States.

 

  • Paddle out into the St. Mary’s River from Voyager Island and Rotary Park in Sault St. Marie on this 360 virtual guided tour. This water trail gives you a front row seat to Great Lakes freighters passing through the channel on their way to and from the Soo Locks.

 

  • PBS television program Under the Radar Michigan features the people, places and things that make Michigan a great place to be. Michiganders can check out episodes that feature Michigan’s Museums, stories from the U.P., downtown Detroit and more.

 

The michigan.org website continues to be a resource for future trip planning, featuring unique destinations throughout the state, road trip and itinerary suggestions and the ability to order the free Pure Michigan Summer Travel Guide – also available digitally. Additionally, michigan.org is now featuring ways to Travel Michigan Virtually While Planning Your Vacation.

 

In the coming days and weeks, the Pure Michigan social channels will be posting virtual experiences all across the state using the #VirtualPureMichigan hashtag. Follow along, or share your favorite Virtual Pure Michigan experience, on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

 

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Governor Whitmer Orders Temporary Expansions in Unemployment

Governor Whitmer Orders Temporary Expansions in Unemployment

GW Header Image

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 25, 2020
Contact: BrownT56@michigan.gov

Governor Whitmer Orders Temporary Expansions in Unemployment Eligibility and Cost-Sharing

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-24, clarifying how the expansion of eligibility for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 will work.

The order:

  • Suspends the requirement for an individual seeking unemployment to request a registration and work search waiver from their employer;
  • Allows anyone with an active unemployment claim to receive up to a six-week benefit extension.
  • Expands cost-sharing with employers. Any benefit paid to a claimant that is laid off or placed on a leave of absence will not be charged to the employer’s accounts, but instead will be pooled and assumed by the Nonchargeable Benefits Component of employer accounts. Employers who unlawfully misclassify their workers and have underpaid their unemployment tax do not get the benefit of this enhanced cost-sharing.

“These are challenging times that all Michiganders are facing, and no one should be worried about how to make ends meet if they cannot work because of self-isolation or self-quarantine in response to contracting the coronavirus,” said Governor Whitmer. “I will continue to take action that protects public health, while also ensuring that working families have the support they need during these hard times.”

Executive Order 2020-24 takes the place of Executive Order 2020-10.

Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:

  • If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

To view Executive Order 2020-24, click the link below:

This press release will be translated and made available in Arabic and Spanish at www.michigan.gov/whitmer

Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Easing Restrictions on Pharmacists

Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Easing Restrictions on Pharmacists

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic

For Immediate Release

March 25, 2020

Media Contact: BrownT56@michigan.gov

Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Easing Restrictions on Pharmacists, Increasing Access to Prescriptions

LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer today signed Executive Order 2020-25, which will allow pharmacists to dispense emergency refills of prescriptions for up to 60 days’ worth of supply for patients and require insurers to cover these emergency refills during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The order will also allow pharmacists to dispense COVID-19 treatments according to government-approved protocols.

Executive Order 2020-25 takes effect immediately and ends on April 22 but could be renewed as needed.

“No Michigander should be worried about running out of critical medications during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why I signed this Executive Order authorizing pharmacists to refill up to 60 days of medication for their patients and easing restrictions on pharmacists so they can continue to help their patients during this crisis,” said Governor Whitmer. “Residents who are limiting their time in public places and practicing social distancing shouldn’t have to fear running low on their prescription drugs during these trying times.”

The Executive Order only applies to non-controlled substances. Pharmacists will also have the discretion to substitute therapeutically equivalent medications without prescriber approval if there are critical shortages.

“This Executive Order will ease a burden on seniors and families worried about maintaining a supply of medication for themselves or their children,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “We continue to urge Michiganders to practice social distancing if they are out in public and to wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer regularly to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:

  • If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

To view executive order 2020-25, click the link below:

Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Extending Deadline to Complete Canvass of March 10 Primary

Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Extending Deadline to Complete Canvass of March 10 Primary

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

March 20, 2020

Media Contact: BrownT56@michigan.gov

Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Extending Deadline to Complete Canvass of March 10 Primary

LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer today signed Executive Order 2020-22, which extends the deadline to complete the canvass of the March 10 primary to April 24.

As counties do their part and practice social distancing guidelines, some will not complete the canvass for the March 10 primary election by the statutory deadline. The counties remain in the best position to complete the count, and this executive action will ensure that happens. Without action, state employees would have to restart the count, wasting time and resources during this critical moment during the COVID-19 crisis.

“This important Executive Order ensures county canvassers have extra time to complete their work following the March 10 Presidential Primary and that state resources remain focused on addressing this public health crisis,” Governor Whitmer said. “The health and safety of seniors, families and children across the state remains our top priority and I urge residents to stay home and stay safe, continue practicing social distancing if they must leave their home, wash their hands for at least 20 seconds and avoiding touching their face to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

“I am grateful to Governor Whitmer for ensuring our democracy will remain robust during this public health crisis,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “Providing more time to canvass the recent election will provide certainty for Michiganders that our elections are accurate and worth everyone participating in.”

Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:

  • If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

To view executive order 2020-22, click the link below: