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Michigan’s Four-Year Welfare Limit May Increase Child Poverty

Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed a Michigan law that places stricter time limits on welfare recipients. Specifically, the new law places a four-year lifetime limit on cash welfare benefits in Michigan. Enforcing this limit will save Michigan more than $60 million annually, however, opponents warn that this new law will leave tens of thousands without cash welfare assistance beginning in October, and will only further exacerbate the child poverty problem in Michigan.

In 2009, Michigan was ranked 38th in the nation in child poverty, with about 23 percent of children living in poverty, compared to the national average of 20 percent. These numbers are in stark contrast to 2000, in which only 14 percent of children in Michigan lived in poverty.

When the new law takes effect, it will lower the number of cash welfare recipients from around 221,000 to 180,000; which is nearly a one-fifth reduction. Gilda Jacobs of the Michigan League for Human Services told the Associated Press that in October alone it is expected that 41,000 people with lose their cash welfare benefits. According to the Michigan League for Human Services, 29,700 of the 41,000 will be children.

This new law has the potential to place even further hardships on families that are already struggling due the current economic crisis, especially single parent households. Single parents now with one less income stream may find themselves needing to re-examine or modify child support orders, or even enforce a current child support order.

If you are currently involved in a child support dispute, or simply need guidance modifying a past child support order, contact an experienced family law attorney in your area in order to be advised of your rights and options.

Source: Mich. Governor Signs 48-month Welfare Limit