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Increased food assistance is here to stay


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. — Increased food benefits in Kansas are now permanent, according to the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

The department announced this week that residents who receive food assistance will benefit from a permanent increase in the maximum benefit amount beginning Oct. 1.

Some residents that have benefited from the increase, like those at Topeka Rescue Mission, said it’s helped them keep afloat during the pandemic.

“It really has given me independence because before when I didn’t have that access to the SNAP program, it was hard getting food, and now I can get on the bus, and go to Walmart… go to Dillons,” said resident Jamie Chestnut.

Shelly Rothe, who’s also at the mission, said the increase can be a huge help to families and has also given her a wider variety of options to choose from.

“There’s plenty of places out there that accept the EBT card, and it’s very beneficial. You never have to go hungry for any reason,” Rothe said.

According to the department, the change is taking place due to the 2018 Farm Bill that directed the United States Department of Agriculture 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.

Additionally, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service temporarily increased food assistance benefits by 15% from March 2021 through September 2021 due to the national public health emergency. The temporary 15% increase ends Sept. 30 and will be replaced with the new amounts. Taken together, food assistance recipients will see a 10% increase from pre-March 2021 benefit levels.ADVERTISING

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

Household Size October 1, 2021 maximum benefits October 1, 2021 maximum gross income October 1, 2021 maximum net income
1 $250 $1396 $1074
2 $459 $1888 $1452
3 $658 $2379 $1830
4 $835 $2871 $2209
5 $992 $3363 $2587
6 $1190 $3855 $2965
7 $1316 $4347 $3344
8 $1504 $4839 $3722
Each additional person + $188 + $492 + $379

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

Increased food assistance is here to stay; How much are you eligible for?