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Follow Work Rules and Penalties

If you are receiving food, or cash assistance, you must follow work rules. Your family must complete the Family Automated Screening Tool (FAST) and develop a Family Self-Sufficiency Plan (FSSP). This plan will list the work activities that you must do up to 40 hours per week to receive assistance. You will design this plan with your DHS specialist and the Michigan Works! Agency.

Cash Assistance

 Work Rules  Penalties
Adults who receive cash assistance must:
  • Complete the FAST screening tool.
  • Help make and comply with an FSSP.
  • Not quit, refuse work or reduce work hours.
  • Not get fired from a job due to misconduct or missing work.
  • Participate in employment or self-sufficiency related activities.
 If you break work rules without good cause, DHS may:
  • Deny your application (you may reapply).
  • Stop cash assistance for your whole family for three months for the first time; six months for the second time, and for your lifetime for the third or any subsequent times.
  • Count all penalty months toward your 48-month state lifetime limit.

If you receive cash and food assistance, we will:

  • Stop or reduce your food benefits for at least one month for the first time or six months for each subsequent time if you are not excused from food work rules.
  • Count your cash grant amount as income for your food budget for the length of time of the sanction. For a lifetime sanction, the cash grant amount will be budgeted until the case reaches the 48-month state time limit.

Food Assistance

 Work Rules  Penalties  Time Limited Food Assistance
 If you are working you may not:
  • Quit a job of 30 hours or more per week.
  • Voluntarily reduce work hours below 30 hours per week without good cause.
If you are not working or you work less than 30 hours per week, you may not:
  • Refuse a job offer.
  • Refuse to participate in required employment-related activities that must be done to receive unemployment benefits.
 If you receive food assistance and you break the work rules without good cause, your benefits will stop or be reduced for:
  • At least one month for the first time; and
  • Six months for any other time after the first time





 Special time limits and work requirements might apply to you if you are:
  • A person without a disability.
  • At least 18 years old but under the age of 50, and
  • Living in a household with no children under age 18 (related or unrelated).




Work Rule Deferrals and Good Cause

Work Rule Deferrals   
Some people who receive cash or food assistance may be temporarily deferred from work rules. If you receive cash assistance and are temporarily deferred from the work rules, you may have to do other activities. If you think you should be temporarily deferred from work rules, talk to your DHS specialist. You must provide the required verification for all deferrals. NOTE: Reasons for being temporarily deferred may change.

You may be temporarily deferred from cash assistance work rules if you are:

  • Age 65 or older.
  • A parent of a baby less than two months old. You may be assigned to family-strengthening activities once the baby is six weeks old.
  • Working 40 hours per week.
  • Caring for a child or spouse with a verified disability (depending on the person's need for care and the child's school attendance).
  • A person with a disability or medical limitations.
  • Experiencing a temporary critical event such as domestic violence (determined by DHS).

You may be temporarily deferred from food assistance work rules if you are:

  • Age 60 or older.
  • Personally caring for a child under the age of six who is receiving FAP on your case.
  • Working 30 hours per week or earning at least minimum wage times 30 hours per week.
  • Attending high school, adult education, or in a GED program for at least half-time.
  • Injured, ill or personally caring for household member with a disability.
  • Seven - nine months pregnant.
  • Pregnant with medical complications.
  • Applying for FAP at a Social Security office.
  • In substance abuse treatment or rehabilitation.
  • Applying for or receiving unemployment benefits.
  • Appealing denial of unemployment benefits.

Good Cause
You have the right to claim good cause if you believe you have a verified reason for noncompliance with the cash and/or food assistance work rules. If you think you have a good cause reason, contact your DHS specialist right away. You will need to provide verification for all good cause claims.  The following may be reasons for good cause under the cash or food assistance programs:

  • An unplanned event or factor that does not allow you to meet the work rules (such as domestic violence, religion, health or safety risk or homelessness).
  • Illness or injury.
  • You requested child care that was not provided.
  • You requested transportation services that were not provided.
  • Long commute (more than two (2) hours per day or more than three (3) hours per day with child care).
  • You quit a job to take a comparable job.
  • Your job required you to commit illegal activities.
  • You are physically or mentally unable to do the job.
  • Your employer discriminated against you based on age, race, color, gender, national origin, disability, religious beliefs, etc.
  • You are working 40 hours per week for at least state minimum wage.
  • Reasonable accommodation was not provided.

Food assistance only - You may have a good cause reason if you:

  • Are deferred.
  • Moved due to another household member's job or education/training.
  • Have a job that requires you to retire or to join, resign from, or refrain from joining a labor union or organization.
  • Have a job that is at strike or a lockout site.
  • Have unreasonable work conditions.
  • Have been offered a job that is outside of your work experience during the first 30 days as a mandatory FAP work participant.
  • Employer is not able to keep the promise of work.