Granholm Signs Legislation Preserving Assistance for Vulnerable Citizens

Contact: Heidi Watson 517-335-6397

December 29, 2005

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed legislation that will preserve provisions of the Social Welfare Act that were scheduled to expire on Saturday, December 31.  On Tuesday, the Governor urged state lawmakers to extend the sunset as soon as possible after she vetoed legislation that would have penalized families who are trying to work their way out of poverty.
 
“This law allows the Department of Human Services to avoid needless confusion and expense in providing assistance to Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens in need,” Granholm said.  “In addition to helping those in need, the department can also continue enforcing work requirements under the state’s welfare laws.” 
 
Public Act 333 extends provisions of the Social Welfare Act that exempt individuals from participating in the Work First program, including:

•  the parent of a child under three months of age;
•  a recipient of Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
•  an individual who meets one or more of the following:  receives Social Security Disability or medical assistance due to disability or blindness; suffers from a physical or mental impairment; is a spouse who is a full-time caregiver of an individual described above; or, is a parent or caretaker of a child who suffers from a physical or mental impairment under the federal SSI disability standards.

The new law also continues the authority to impose sanctions that terminate benefits if the recipient fails, without good cause, to comply with child support requirements, including establishment of paternity and obtaining child support.
 
“My administration has put in countless hours working with the Legislature to craft a tough, fair, and compassionate welfare reform package that rewards work, trains people for jobs, and protects our poorest and most vulnerable citizens,” Granholm said.  “I remain willing to work with the Legislature to enact legislation that is both firm and compassionate.”

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