Culture of Dependency: 1 of 5 in Michigan on Food Stamps

This is scary.
The cash-strapped state of Michigan finally decided to conform to federal government norms by removing some 30,000 college students from its food stamps program, thereby saving $75 million a year. (Which means the food stamps program costs $2,500 per person.)
That’s not the scary part.
What’s scary is that even after Michigan has done that, as many as one out of every five Michigan residents still are on food stamps!
Paul Egan reports for The Detroit News, August 8, 2011, that according to Michigan’s Dept of Human Services, although federal rules don’t allow most college students to collect food stamps, Michigan had created its own rules that made nearly all students eligible by creating an exception for those participating in a valid employment and training program. Employment training was defined as attending college.
As a result, the number of Michigan college students on this form of welfare made the state a national leader. For example, Michigan had 10 times the number of students on food stamps as either Illinois or California.
Trimming college students from the state’s food stamps program is part of an effort to change the culture of Michigan’s welfare department and slash tens of millions of dollars of waste, fraud and abuse.
Human Services Director Maura Corrigan, a former justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, said, “Maybe (students) could go get a part-time job — that’s what I did. We want to encourage people to be self-sufficient, not to be dependent on the government.”
Corrigan has also ordered administrators to start looking at applicants’ assets, not just their income. Starting Oct. 1, assets will also be considered in determining eligibility for new applicants. The assets of existing food stamp recipients will also be examined as their cases are re-evaluated every six months. That move follows an uproar after it was revealed Leroy Fick of Auburn remained eligible for food stamps and continued using them after he won $2 million in the state lottery TV show “Make Me Rich!” in June 2010. [Read about Fick in my post of May 20, “Screw the Taxpayer: Man Wins $2M Lottery But Still Collects Food Stamps“.]
Kayla Neff, a 19-year-old Spanish and computer science student at Central Michigan University who qualified for food stamps in September, said it’s tough to find a job in Michigan, particularly for students with little experience.
Neff said she and her father share about $150 a month in grocery money from the program, which “made all the difference in the world,” but her eligibility is now under review. “Students should be focusing on their education, not whether or not they’ll be able to eat dinner or whether they can manage to find a job and balance it on top of their studies.”
Neff’s university, CMU, was singled out by Corrigan as having publicized students’ eligibility for food stamps on the university’s website. One large Michigan school, which Corrigan did not identify, had 3,500 students on the program.
Many see using food stamps while attending school as a scam, and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick described it in much that way in his new autobiography: “The food stamp game is an old hook-up in neighborhoods from Detroit to Tallahassee. If you could get them, especially as a struggling college student, then you did.”
Kilpatrick, who was recently released from state prison after serving time for violating probation and awaits trial on federal corruption charges, revealed he used food stamps when he attended Florida A&M University in the late 1980s and early 1990s. At the time, his mother was a state representative and his father was a top Wayne County official.
Even after the change in Michigan’s food stamps eligibility, not all college students have been kicked off the program. For instance, single moms who go to school can still be eligible, as can certain students who work at least 20 hours a week.
Even after the recent removal of 30,000 college students from the food stamp program, close to 2 million Michigan residents — one in five — are on the program.

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8 years ago

According to Obamunists, food stamps are the best economic stimulator. They are proud of the jump in the number of recipients because “more people are now aware of the program…” It is a sad situation.

8 years ago

15 years ago when my husband was attending graduate school in Michigan I was shocked to learn our neighbors (Chinese foreign students) had food stamps! We were a young couple with 2 children struggling to survive on a graduate student salary. I refused to get govn’t help because I was raised in the “if you don’t work, you don’t eat” mentality. Sadly this fleeceing the system has gone on for years…. and those who do it don’t care the long term effects it has on our society. I deserve these benefits from Cradle to Grave. This will be the downfall… Read more »

8 years ago

“The best social program is a job.”
–Ronald Reagan

8 years ago

Neff said “Students should be focusing on their education, not whether or not they’ll be able to eat dinner or whether they can manage to find a job and balance it on top of their studies.”
Neff doesn’t realize that an education isn’t a right. While it is helpful to advance and hopefully make more money, sometimes it has to be put on hold. Wonder how she pays her tuition/books/fees but can’t afford food.

Clifton Lee West
Clifton Lee West
8 years ago

I agree with Ronald Reagan that the best social program is a job, but, not everyone is qualified for anything. Lacking education, professional training, any experience what-so-ever and little or no apparent ambition, why would anyone hire a person like this? If the socialist teachers who now have control of our young would do their job, some of our young might actually wind up with the will to work and be self-supporting for a change, instead of being leeches looking for someone to take care of them