LANSING, Mich.—The state Senate on Wednesday approved a comprehensive welfare reform package that limits the length of time benefits can be collected over a recipient’s life, saving taxpayers more than $65 million in the next fiscal year alone, said Sen. Mike Green.
“Public assistance programs are intended to be a safety net for those folks who truly need a helping hand, not a lifestyle for those able to work,” said Green, R–Mayville. “These common sense reforms make sure that limited dollars get to those in need, while encouraging independence and rewarding hard work among able-bodied individuals. I proudly supported these changes.”
House Bills 4409 and 4410 will reduce the welfare caseload by 12,600 cases statewide. Among other changes, the bills will:
- Permanently cap lifetime benefits at 48 months;
- Increase the amount a beneficiary is allowed to earn in a job and still qualify for assistance;
- Prohibit assistance from being used for lottery tickets, alcohol, tobacco, gambling and illegal activities;
- Require the state to verify an applicant’s immigration status for non-U.S. citizens; and
- Exempt cases that are child-only or adults over the age of 65.
The bills, which had previously passed the House with a bipartisan majority, will be presented to the governor who is expected to sign them.