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Kansas Food Stamp Requirement Changes At Month's End - KOAM TV 7

Kansas Food Stamp Requirement Changes At Month's End

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Approximately 20,000 unemployed Kansans currently on food stamps may risk losing the benefits at the end of the month. The Kansas Department for Children and Families, or DCF, made the announcement this week. 

In Crawford County, Kansas over 7,000 individuals received food assistance as of July, according to DCF, but the organization says that could change after the state allows the Federal waiver to expire at the end of the month.
 
"Our unemployment rate is low, we feel there are jobs, we feel that it's better for people to be participating in work, so we elected to not renew the waiver," said Phyllis Gilmore, DCF Secretary in a phone interview.
 
DCF says for an able bodied individual with no dependents to qualify for food assistance, they now must work at least 20 hours per week or be enrolled in a job training program. Places like Kansas Works in Pittsburg says they often help DCF clients find work.

"We have a referral system with DCF, we see a lot of their clients, and what we try and do basically is try and give an orientation to them, so they understand what we do and how we do it, and do some assessments with them and work with the individuals and go from there," said Jon Pettus of the Kansas Department of Commerce.
 
But not everyone in the state thinks the move is a good one, Representatives from the Sunflower Community Action Organization in Wichita say the state is "shamelessly" doing away with a needed benefit.

And the Kansas Center for Economic Growth released this statement:

"Thousands of Kansans are struggling to find a way back into the workforce. Cutting off supports such as snap only makes it more difficult for them to get back on their feet…"

Though some Pittsburg residents we spoke with didn't seem to see it that way.

"In order to get assistance and support I think you need to show that you're willing to go the extra to get that job," said Christina Cook.
"They need to get out and work a little bit themselves," said Carol Gorenc. 
 "It's a good thing, because I think it's immoral to encourage  people to be dependent on the government," said Roger Wood.
 
The current waiver will expire on September 30, leaving those unemployed, three months to find work or get into job training. But DCF stresses that adults who lose their jobs after that date will be covered by the 1996 law, which makes them eligible for food stamps for three months out of every three years.

DCF says that Oklahoma and Wisconsin are also letting their waivers expire this month. 

If you're interested in finding out just how many people in your county receive food assistance click here.

For more information on the Kansas Department for Children and Families click here.

 

 

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