Lansing, MI - Low-income residents of Macomb and Oakland counties who were affected by late June flooding and did not receive food assistance benefits during July 2021 can soon apply for federal Disaster Food Assistance Program benefits, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday, November 1, 2021.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) will accept in-person applications during specified hours on six days at locations in each of the two counties beginning Wednesday, Nov. 3.
Households determined to be eligible will receive a one-time-only benefit to spend on food that is $430 for a household of two and $782 for a household of four.
“Michiganders in Macomb and Oakland counties were among those who saw their homes, property, and prized possessions damaged by historic flooding this year,” Gov. Whitmer said. “In Michigan we look out for one another, and as governor, I want to ensure that every family can recover and thrive through difficult times. I am proud of the work MDHHS is doing to deliver disaster food assistance to impacted families in Macomb and Oakland.”
In September Whitmer received approval from President Joe Biden of her request for a presidential disaster declaration related to the summer floods to be extended to Macomb and Oakland counties. Previously, the president approved a similar request for Wayne and Washtenaw counties, which allowed eligible residents of those two counties to apply for Disaster Food Assistance in August.
Now USDA Food and Nutrition Service has approved the federal disaster food benefits for the two additional counties.
MDHHS will assist impacted residents in applying for Disaster Food Assistance Program benefits. To be eligible, applicants must:
- Have lived in Macomb or Oakland counties on June 25, 2021.
- Not have received food assistance benefits in July 2021, commonly known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and Food Assistance Program benefits in Michigan.
- Meet income requirements for its family size based on the household's take-home income and accessible liquid resources during the disaster benefit period, minus unreimbursed disaster expenses. That translates to an income of approximately 150% of the federal poverty level. By comparison, eligibility for traditional food assistance is based on an income that is 130% of the poverty level.
- Be directly affected by the flooding, which means the household has experienced at least one of the following due to the disaster:
- Destroyed or spoiled food.
- Disaster-related personal injury.
- Lost or no access to income due to the disaster, including reduced, terminated, or delayed receipt of income, for a large part of the benefit period.
- The need for home or business repairs.
- Temporary shelter expenses.
- Evacuation or relocation expenses.
“Addressing food insecurity is always a priority for MDHHS,” said Elizabeth Hertel, the department’s director. “When times are tough – whether from a once-a-decade pandemic or historic flooding – it’s even more important for us to help our neighbors so they don’t have to worry about feeding their families,”
Under federal requirements MDHHS will complete an in-person interview with each applicant before the disaster food assistance can be approved.
Applicants must provide verification of their identity and are encouraged to bring proof of residence, income, and liquid assets such as the amount of money in their bank accounts during the disaster period, if possible. Proof of citizenship is not required. Face masks will be required at all sites. Applicants are asked to bring their own mask if possible, however, masks will be available if needed.
In both counties, applications will be accepted:
- Wednesday, Nov. 3, from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
- Thursday Nov. 4, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Friday, Nov. 5, from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 6, from 8 a.m.-noon
- Monday, Nov. 8, from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
- Tuesday, Nov. 9, from 8 a.m.-noon.
Residents can apply at three Kensington Church locations:
- Macomb County.
- Kensington Church, 25000 Hall Road, Clinton Township.
- Oakland County
- Kensington Church, 4640 S. Lapeer Road, Lake Orion.
- Kensington Church, 1825 E. Square Lake Road, Troy.
People who are elderly or have a disability will have access to prioritized lines, seating, water, handicap-accessible parking and restrooms, and other accommodations as needed.
Households approved for Disaster Food Assistance Program benefits will be issued a Bridge Card, an electronic benefits card similar to a debit card that can be used to redeem their food assistance benefits at eligible retail stores and farmers markets.
Benefits will be available 24 hours after approval. Households should redeem the benefits promptly. For a list of SNAP authorized retailers, including farmers markets and farm stands, please see USDA's SNAP retailer locator.
In August, MDHHS provided $11.5 million in federal disaster food assistance benefits to residents of Wayne and Washtenaw counties.
More details about disaster food assistance are available at Michigan.gov/FoodAssistance.