PROVEN PROGRAMS HELP FAMILIES ON THE EDGE. Programs such as the federal and state EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) help keep Kansas children from experiencing poverty through cash assistance. Other programs such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps) and Medicaid provide crucial resources.
Solving the poverty emergency for Kansas kids.
DESPITE THEIR SUCCESS, THESE PROGRAMS ARE LIMITED. Families thrive when their basic needs are met. But in 2015, harmful legislation (the so-called HOPE Act) was signed into law that created obstacles for Kansas families accessing anti-poverty programs. The legislation shortened the amount of time a family is eligible for cash assistance and added extra requirements that are difficult for families to meet. Kansas has seen a continued decline of children and families accessing anti-poverty programs. These restrictions harm families’ economic stability, ability to plan for the future, and capacity to deal with unexpected events.
AT A GLANCE:
- The EITC will be important as Kansans recover from the current economic downturn. It can only be claimed by people who earn income through work and pay taxes, and it is proven to help families out of poverty. Right now, it helps more than 200,000 working Kansans — mostly those with children — make ends meet.
Some 103,000 children in the Kansas lived at the poverty line or below before the pandemic began.
- TANF is a program designed to alleviate hardship for families experiencing poverty. Only Kansas families with children who have very low incomes are eligible.
- While these families need cash assistance, the benefit is small and not enough to cover basic needs. For a family of four, in a high-cost, high-population county, the maximum benefit is $449 per month. Kansas has not increased the amount since the program began in 1996.
POLICYMAKERS SHOULD WORK TO REMOVE BARRIERS to these important programs, making them accessible so that eligible families can enroll without delay. We also need strong revenue streams to ensure the state can craft a budget that funds these needed programs, particularly during our current economic challenges.