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Food Assistance Program (FAP, or Food Stamps)

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    The Food Assistance Program (FAP) helps eligible families buy food. It is a monthly allowance of money placed on a Bridge card. A Bridge card is like a debit card, and the government puts money onto the card to pay for groceries. A Bridge card can be used at most grocery stores and markets. There are some restrictions on what you are able to buy with your Bridge card.

    Who is Eligible?

    Eligibility for FAP is based on your household size, your monthly household income, and your assets. All members of the household who purchase and prepare food together are counted. Children under age 22 who live at home will be part of their parents’ FAP case. Some college students are also eligible for FAP. To learn more about this, see College Students and Food Assistance.

    Your family income can be up to 200% of the poverty level, depending on your expenses. Certain expenses are taken into account when determining family eligibility, such as child support payments or medical expenses for disabled and elderly family members.

    Your family must have less than $5,000 dollars in assets to be eligible for FAP. The value of your home and one car are not included in the asset test. If you are already eligible for the Family Independence Program (FIP), State Disability Assistance (SDA), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) you are exempt from the asset test.

    FAP eligibility also requires you to have at least one citizen or qualified legal immigrant in your family. Even if other family members do not have legal immigration status, this will not stop your application. For more information about immigrants who can receive food stamps, see Food Assistance for Immigrants. You must live in Michigan to qualify for FAP, and your family cannot receive cash assistance from any other state.

    How Do I Apply?

    To apply for FAP you can submit an application to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The fastest way to apply is online through the DHHS website, MI Bridges. You can also apply in person at your local DHHS office. Your local DHHS office will give you a general application form, but it may be easier to print an application form and fill it out completely before going to DHHS. DHHS will either approve or deny your application within 30 days.

    When you apply, you will be asked to prove important parts of your application. This means you may have to show documents like birth certificates, social security cards, state ID cards, driver licenses, or passports. You may also need to take documents that show your income and expenses, like bank statements and proof of rent (such as a lease). These expense documents must be less than 30 days old.

    A DHHS specialist will contact you and set up a conference to go over your FAP application. You should bring your important documents to this conference. The conference is also an opportunity to learn about your rights. Be sure to ask the DHHS specialist any questions you have about the application process or your public benefits.

    What if it is an Emergency?

    If you are homeless or have little to no money, emergency food assistance may be available to you. Emergency applications are processed within 7 days.