State Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield) introduced House Bill 4829 this week that will increase the lifetime limit of the Family Independence Program (FIP) from 48 months to 60 months. FIP operates under the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to provide cash assistance to low-income families with minor children, as well as to pregnant women. The need for basic income assistance from FIP nearly doubled in just a few months after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Harsh time limits on government assistance leaves our most vulnerable residents behind,” said Brabec. “Families who are young or out of work, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, are depending on these benefits more than ever. Making meaningful investments in programs that improve the health and well-being of all Michiganders is critical to recovering from this pandemic and to achieving economic growth and opportunity in our state.”
FIP is funded primarily through federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grants. TANF permits individuals a 60-month lifetime limit for benefits and contains various hardship exemptions. In 2011, Michigan instituted a strict 48-month lifetime limit on FIP benefits—a full year less than the federal 60-month limit. The legislation put forth by Rep. Brabec simply aligns our state with the federal lifetime limit, provides exemptions for minors, and a hardship exemption for those who are battered or subject to extreme cruelty.