(Lansing)—Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state, today addressed its concerns regarding the Department of Human Services budget that passed out of Senate subcommittee earlier this afternoon. Of primary concern to the Conference is the proposal to implement a 48-month time limit policy that will immediately cut assistance to over 12,600 vulnerable Michigan families. The Conference's additional concerns related to the Senate DHS budget are as follows:
Children's Clothing Allowance: While the Senate subcommittee’s budget would reduce funding for the policy by $200,000, the Conference is concerned that the new policy to issue gift cards to recipients, rather than a state check, does not allow for the gift card to be used at a faith-based retail store, such as St. Vincent de Paul. Clothing costs at faith-based retail stores are typically less expensive than those at for-profit retail locations. The Conference urges an amendment to the budget that would allow the gift cards to be used at faith-based retail stores.
Indigent Burial: The Senate subcommittee recommends amending current policy to allow eligibility only to those burials where the deceased has not been claimed. Michigan Catholic Conference is opposed to this provision as an increased burden will be placed on faith-based cemeteries.
State Disability Assistance Program: According to the Senate subcommittee’s recommendation, the state will shift its eligibility requirements to the federal Supplemental Security Income requirements. The recommendation also eliminates assistance to caregivers and reduces the monthly assistance amount to disabled persons. Michigan Catholic Conference is opposed to the subcommittee’s recommendation and finds the sixty-six percent reduction alarming as those who are incapable of supporting themselves will only face additional hardships under this legislation.
48-month time limit for assistance: Michigan Catholic Conference has consistently stated its strong opposition to this policy as over 12,600 vulnerable families would immediately be cut from assistance if this policy were to be enacted. The Conference will continue to advocate against this proposal as the state budget debate moves forward.
"Michigan Catholic Conference expresses its appreciation to the subcommittee for reinserting language in the department budget that would maintain eligibility for those with a drug-related offense. The Conference looks forward to working with key members of the Legislature, Republicans and Democrats, as well as the administration as the Department of Human Services budget is finalized."
Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state.