Families participating in the free and reduced lunch program are eligible to receive an additional, one-time benefit of $274 per child through the Pandemic EBT program. Households participating in SNAP, as well as non-SNAP households, will be eligible to apply.
Kansas’s Department for Children and Families (DCF) is able to operate this program due to COVID-19-related school closures. Pandemic EBT helps fill the gap for families no longer able to access the free or reduced school meal program. Kansas gained approval from the USDA to operate this program on April 27 and is one of only 13 approved states.
“With more than 45 percent of Kansas kids utilizing free or reduced-price meals, this program is critical,” Haley Kottler, Kansas Appleseed campaign director, said. “Kansas is one of the first states to be approved for this program, which is something to be proud of.”
Getting USDA approval was the first step. While DCF works to bring this plan online, Kansas families who haven’t done so should apply for the free and reduced lunch program to ensure their eligibility. Families who already participate should also verify their application information is up-to-date.
For Kansans in households with mixed immigration status, Pandemic EBT will not affect ‘public charge’ status according to the Food Research and Action Center and the Protecting Immigrant Families campaign.
Pandemic EBT is one of a series of flexibilities and programs available to Kansans and their families amid the pandemic to assist with affording food:
Work-requirements: DCF is temporarily waiving work requirements and work training to receive food assistance.
Interview requirements: Temporarily, households are not required to do initial in-person interviews before receiving SNAP. This requirement has been waived until May 2020.
Emergency allotments to current SNAP: Households currently receiving SNAP benefits will have their benefit increased to the maximum monthly allotment for a household of that size for April and May 2020–and after on a month by month basis. All emergency allotments will be delivered on the household’s EBT card.
Extended Certification Periods: SNAP participants normally require a minimum certification period of six months for most households, due to the pandemic, this has been waived to 12 months. For seniors and people with disabilities, the Certification Period has been extended to 24 months.
Summer Food Service Program: At hundreds of sites throughout Kansas, children can receive free meals through the Summer Food Service Program. Meals are served in non-congregate settings and children do not need to be present for a parent or guardian to pick up meals at approved locations. For more information on Kansas’s flexibilities for USDA programs including SNAP, WIC, and Child Nutrition Programs, visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/disaster/pandemic/covid-19/kansas.
Kansas Appleseed would like to recognize the leadership and proactive measures taken by the Department for Children and Families and the Kansas State Department of Education to reduce hunger among Kansans during these uncertain times.
Kansas Appleseed is a statewide organization that believes Kansans, working together, can build a state full of thriving, inclusive, and just communities. Kansas Appleseed conducts policy research and analysis and works with communities and partners to understand the root causes of problems and advocate for comprehensive solutions.