The Food Assistance Program (FAP, or Food Stamps) Work Rules
To be eligible for the Food Assistance Program (FAP, also known as Food Stamps), you must meet certain requirements. Some of those requirements deal with employment. These are known as “work rules.” If you receive both cash and food assistance, you must follow the Family Independence Program (FIP) work rules. To learn more about FIP work rules, read Family Independence Program (FIP, or Cash Assistance) Work Rules and Penalties (coming soon). If you receive only FAP, you must follow the FAP work rules.
FAP Work Rules
To be or to stay eligible for FAP, you cannot quit your job if you are working 30 hours or more per week. You also may not voluntarily reduce your work hours to fewer than 30 per week without good cause. Read "Good Cause" below to learn more.
If you are not working, or if you are working less than 30 hours per week, you cannot refuse a job offer. You also cannot refuse to do employment−related activities that are required to get unemployment benefits. To learn more about these activities, read Getting Unemployment Benefits: Your Rights & Responsibilities.
Penalties for Not Following FAP Work Rules
If you are getting FAP, the first time you violate a work rule, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will reduce or suspend your benefits for one month or until you follow the rules, whichever is longer. If you violate the rules again, DHHS will reduce or suspend your benefits for six months or until you follow the rules, whichever is longer.
If you are applying for FAP and you violate the work rules, DHHS can deny your application.
Special Rules for Adults Without Kids
Special federal FAP time limits and work requirements could apply to you if you don’t have a disability, are between 18 and 49 years old, and are living in a household without children or a pregnant woman. Michigan currently has a waiver on these rules. However, it might be a good idea to speak with legal services in your area in case that waiver ends. Use Find a Lawyer to find legal services in your area.
Good Cause for Not Following Work Rules
Sometimes things happen that prevent you from following the work rules. If you have good cause (a good reason for not following the rules), you won’t be punished. If you are getting FAP only, you have good cause if:
You recently moved because of another household member’s job or education/ training;
You have a job that is on strike or at a lockout site;
You quit your job because of unreasonable work conditions, like unreasonable risk to your health and safety;
You quit your job because your employer cannot provide steady work, does not pay you on time, or has you doing things that are illegal; or
You refused a job offer that is outside your work experience.
Work Rule Deferrals (Exceptions)
Having a work rule deferral means you are excused from the work rules. If you are getting FAP only, you can be excused from work rules if you are:
Age 60 or older
Personally caring for a child under six years old who is getting FAP as part of your household
Attending high school, adult education, or you are in a GED program on at least a half−time basis
Injured, ill, or personally caring for a household member with a disability
Seven to nine months pregnant
Pregnant with medical complications
Applying for or receiving unemployment benefits
Appealing a denial of unemployment benefits
In substance abuse treatment or rehabilitation
If you have questions about FAP work rules, deferrals, or good cause, contact your local DHHS office. Your local legal services office may also be able to help you. Use Find a Lawyer to find legal services in your area.