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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/3/17

The State of Michigan Harasses Food-Stamp Recipients

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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is in charge of the State's food-assistance program (i.e. food stamps). In December 2016, DHHS cut off my food stamps. I filed an appeal. DHHS said it was a mistake and reinstated my food benefits.

DHHS sent me a letter in January 2017 stating I had to attend an orientation to do community-service hours to continue to receive food stamps. I went to orientation. In January and February 2017, I submitted my volunteer hours to Michigan Works. DHHS sent me a letter stating I did not do my service hours for January and February. Now, DHHS sent me a letter stating I have to go to the very same orientation I already attended all over again. Making me jump through hoops I have already jumped through is harassment.

A few weeks ago, Michigan Works said I have to stop submitting my hours to them and to submit them directly to DHHS. Now, Michigan Works is saying I have to attend orientation again and start submitting my hours to them again.

I filed complaints with DHHS weeks ago but never heard back. DHHS needs to be completely overhauled. I am wasting countless hours submitting volunteer hours to DHHS, fighting them on it, filing complaints against them, etc. These are hours I should be using applying for better jobs. DHHS needs to accept the hours I spend fighting them as volunteer hours too.

I filed complaints with the Governor Rick Snyder's office. The governor's office only responded to me after I e-mailed the chief of staff. Otherwise, apparently, they were going to ignore me. The governor's office lied stating I had many conversations with DHHS about the situation. The governor's office also said that DHHS claimed I didn't do my hours and that there was nothing more the governor's office could do. How about making DHHS live up to its end of the bargain? I did my hours. Now, I am supposed to get food stamps with no further hassle.

It seems that DHHS is just trying to wear food-assistance recipients down so they'll give up.

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(Article changed on April 4, 2017 at 15:33)

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William holds a BBA from Western Michigan University and a Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School.

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