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Assistance cut off to some bridge card users

6:37 AM, Oct 3, 2011   |    comments
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The cuts are expected to affect more than 1.7 million Michigan residents.

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Some Michigan families are looking for help after losing state funding support for food.

New bridge card restrictions took effect Saturday, cutting off assistance to people with more than $5,000 in assets.

"The goal is not to hurt people that really need it, our goal is to get people off that should have never been on [it]," said State Representative Dave Agema (R).

Notices have already been sent to those affected. Karen Kilby, a single mother of three, once directly relied on food stamps to support her children. Now, Kilby does not qualify, as she is over the $5,000 asset level.

"I received the letter, and it stated in the letter that all food stamp money that was on the card had to be used up by the end of September, or it would be gone, and I'm not going to receive it any futher," said Kilby.

The change is meant to end bridge card abuse, but in Michigan's challenging economic climate, many people who are now ineligible to use the cards are worried about where the next meal will come from.

"We're trying to get more money for people that really need this, and to get the people off the don't need it," said Agema.

Prior to October 1, food assistance was determined by income only. The assets recipients must now list include savings accounts, stocks and bonds, and lottery winnings. Homes, 401Ks, and education savings accounts are exempt from the check.

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