Kansans to receive more money for food assistance

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FILE – In this Friday, March 17, 2017, file photo, a sign advertises a program that allows food stamp recipients to use their EBT cards to shop at a farmer’s market in Topsham, Maine. President Donald Trump’s administration is proposing to end an option that has allowed states to exceed federal eligibility thresholds for food stamps. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Sheva Blakley of Topeka has been receiving food assistance on and off for most of her adulthood.

After being laid off from her two jobs within 24 hours of each other due to the Coronavirus response, Blakley’s amount of food assistance increased.

“They are to provide food so I can get through because no one knows what’s going to happen,” Blakley said.

Now, Blakley will receive an additional approximately $75 in assistance for the next two months due to the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

This act now allows families to receive the maximum benefits, based on the number of people in their household.

Blakley, who is the only one in her household, said this is more than enough to support her. However, she worries for the households with children.

“I know people that have children in their home and are going through worse situations than I am and they’re receiving so much less if anything,” Blakley said.

Now, with this additional food assistance benefit, a family of four will escalate from receiving around $400 a month, to $646, according to Rebekah Gaston, director of economic services and policy for the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

“We wanted to be able to ensure that families are able to feed their kids during this really unprecedented pandemic emergency,” Gaston said.

Families who qualify will receive the additional money starting April 15 for the month of March, and will receive the April benefits starting May 1.

For a family to qualify to receive these benefits, they must be at or below 130% of the federal poverty level. The average benefit a household receives is a little over $100 per person.

These federal funds will bring an additional 30% more income into the state’s economy for the months of March and April, Gaston said.

Usually the state receives about $25 to $30 million a month in food assistance, and will now receive an additional $11 million.

Gaston recommended that any family who is struggling apply for the Food Assistance Program on the Kansas Department for Children and Families’ website.

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