Kansas expands food assistance

Kansas Department for Children and Families Secretary Laura Howard has announced that Kansas residents who receive food assistance will benefit from a permanent increase in the maximum benefit amount beginning Oct. 1.

“Access to healthy food is a key component of a family’s well-being,” Howard said. “This permanent increase helps us address food insecurity, especially among children, which has a positive impact on the overall health of our community.”

The change is taking place due to the 2018 Farm Bill that directed USDA to re-evaluate the Thrifty Food Plan which is used to calculate benefits for food assistance. Through this year’s adjustment, the maximum allowable allotment increased to $250 for a household of one. The maximum allotment amounts for households the size of two or more also have increased.

Other annual adjustments also have been made:
• The gross and net income limits have increased this year
• The maximum excess shelter deduction is increasing from $569 to $597
• The standard utility allowance is increasing from $364 to $392
• The limited utility allowance is increasing from $247 to $286
• The telephone standard is increasing from $35 to $37
• The standard medical deduction remains the same $175

Most households will see changes in their benefits for the month of October to reflect the annual adjustments.

Additionally, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) temporarily increased food assistance benefits by 15% from March 2021 through September 2021 due to the national public health emergency.

The temporary 15 percent increase ends Sept. 30 and will be replaced with the new amounts. Taken together, food assistance recipients will see a 10 percent increase from pre-March 2021 benefit levels.

The chart shows the Oct. 1 maximum benefits as well as gross income and net income limits for food assistance:

The minimum allotment is $20. All food assistance benefits are based on household size, household income and allowable deductions.

USDA provides shopping strategies and meal planning advice to help families serve nutritious meals affordably through the following:

• gov (http://www.choosemyplate.gov/)
• Plan, compare and prepare (http://blogs.usda.gov/2013/03/28/healthy-eating-on-a-budget/)
• Team Nutrition Recipes (https://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/team-nutrition-recipes), which helps find healthy low-cost recipes and create cookbooks and shopping lists.
For more information on the food assistance program, visit http://www.dcf.ks.gov/Pages/default.aspx.

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