What help is there for families right now?

Watch this short video about what's available for Kansas families and how to apply for help.

Information for struggling families about benefits available to them

The American Rescue Plan of 2021 has changed many things for low income families.  Use this list to be sure you get all the help you can.  These resources are available to families with no income or modest income.

INFORMATION in SPANISH


Monthly Child Care Tax payments

The IRS has opened the online child tax credit portals. That's where you'll change your status and more.

If you're eligible for the child tax credit payments, you should get a head start on calculating how much money you'll get before the first payment arrives July 15.

The IRS is working on opening two portals for families with qualifying dependents so they can update their information.

The portals will be available for you to:

  • register (if you don't normally file a tax return),
  • update information (if there's a change in the number of dependents) and to 
  • opt out of the monthly payments if you want a larger check instead. 

On the 15th of each month, the advance child tax credit payments will be sent out -- unless it falls on a weekend or holiday.

Each check could be as much as $300 per child depending on the child's age by the end of 2021. Parents should be aware of the income limit and other requirements to get the full payment per child.

As we get more information from the IRS, we'll update this story frequently to explain the separate portals.

Here are some different ways to use your child tax credit checks, how you may receive your payment and how you can claim an additional $8,000 to $16,000 credit for child care expenses

Read more about it.


Kansas Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) funds

Watch this short video about the P-EBT in Kansas.

Kansas Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) funds for the 2020-2021 School Year have started distributing and the Thriving Team at Kansas Appleseed hopes to ensure all eligible families receive their funds.

P-EBT is a Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program that provides additional food assistance to families who lost access to school meals due to COVID-19.

Read more about the program here, or go and apply here at the Department for Children and Families website.


Apply for no-cost medical coverage

Adults: Through August 15

Apply: https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/health-insurance-marketplace-glossary/

For people with income between $17,430 for a household of 2 (1 child) up to $43,550 (150% of Federal Poverty Level) – zero cost for the silver plan – NO premium,

Higher incomes have major decrease in premium costs.

This goes on through 2022.

The money to pay for your coverage comes as tax credit – If you already have health insurance through the Federal Marketplace, sign in to your account to request this and lower your cost for remainder of the year – This benefit is retroactive, so some of the money will come in a tax refund on income tax return filed for 2021.

IF you got any Unemployment Benefits in 2021, you are automatically eligible for Zero cost, if you select the silver plan.  Anyone who got Unemployment Benefits in 2021 can buy health insurance in the marketplace - this coverage will only last for 2021.

If you could be eligible for COBRA coverage after leaving a job, you can get COBRA for one year or for 60 days after the end of the COVID National Emergency.

You can get a tax credit equal to 100% coverage for up to 6 months in 2021, for payments made between 4/1/21 and 9/30/21.

Read more here.


Health Insurance for Children:  Health Wave  

In Kansas, you may apply for children’s health insurance any time. Apply online at https://cssp.kees.ks.gov/apspssp/.  You can view eligibility, after answering some simple questions and apply online if you are eligible.


Internet (Broadband) program

Please check the FCC website, www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, often for the latest information. You are eligible if your child gets reduced school lunches, or if you have loss of income due to COVID, or if your 2020 income was below $99,000. The FCC is working to make the benefit available as quickly as possible. This will provide free internet for eligible families.  You will be able to choose your own provider. Read more here.


Back rent due or need for future rent

KERA – Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance - help with paying rent, some utilities, including internet

                Up to 12 months of payments (past due rent since April 1, 2020 and future rent)

                You must make a joint application with your landlord

                Must have had financial hardship due to COVID

                Your income now (varies by county) has to be less than about $40,000.  Check on the website for specific information.

Apply here: https://kera.kshousingcorp.org/kera#/

IF YOU NEED HELP WITH YOUR APPLICATION IN THE TOPEKA  AREA, YOU CAN CALL COMMUNITY ACTION  AT (785) 836-4500.  Trained, professional staff will assist you and/or your landlord at no cost. 


SNAP (Food Help)

The amount of benefits for a family are up by 15% through September. This is about $25 per person per month. Children who would have gotten free or reduced food from schools can get more money on the family SNAP electronic card, if they are not eating at school.  This should continue through the summer.

The highest monthly income limit is $1868 for a family of two, $2353 for a family of three.  The highest benefit is $374 for a family of two, $535 a month for a family of three.  There are limits on resources (money in the bank, etc.)

Apply: https://cssp.kees.ks.gov/apspssp/sspNonMed.portal


If you are in a situation that you feel is urgent, and you need advice or legal assistance to determine your next steps, please ask for help.

Apply Online for legal assistance. Or call 800-723-6953


CONSUMER SCAMS

The Federal Trade Commission has warned people to be on the lookout for COVID-19 related scams.

-You can report fraud or price gouging to the KS Attorney General online ag.ks.gov

If you receive unsolicited calls, emails, or other communication claiming to be from the FDIC or another federal agency in connection with COVID-19 related grants or payments in exchange for personal financial information, please do not respond.  These are scams. Find out how to report COVID-19 scams.


COURT RESTRICTIONS

Courts were briefly closed for all non-emergency proceedings (including evictions and foreclosures). District courts can now resume eviction and foreclosure hearings in person and via phone or video.

If you are in a domestic violence situation, you can still file a protection from abuse or protection from stalking order.  Contact the local domestic violence shelter and they will assist you, or you can call our office and complete an intake for assistance.  


DRIVER'S LICENSES AND VEHICLE REGISTRATIONS

Go here to read all about the new changes to driver's license restrictions and suspensions that were enacted in May, 2021.

Questions about driver’s licenses and other Division of Vehicle services can be answered by email at kdor_dovdl@ks.gov

Questions about your vehicle registration should be directed to your local county treasurer’s office.

In addition to the extensions, these services can be conducted online at iKan.ks.gov or on mobile devices through the iKan application.

This page will help you with driver's license issues.


FOOD ASSISTANCE

Kansas gives emergency food assistance benefit to current program households who get SNAP benefits. The emergency allotment increases a household’s monthly benefit to the maximum allowed for the size of the family. The maximum monthly benefit for a family of four is $646.​

Read more about Kansas food assistance.  You can find links to other food-related assistance on this page.


HOUSING ISSUES

New Protections for Homeowners with VA-guaranteed loans started July 27.

CDC Eviction Ban Ended July 31.

Kansans struggling to cover rent and utility payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic may qualify for up to 12 months of emergency assistance, thanks to federal relief.

Tenants may qualify for the federal assistance if they earn no more than 80 percent of their area’s median income, are experiencing documented financial hardship as a result of the pandemic and could be at risk of housing instability or homelessness without assistance.

Wichita residents can apply for assistance through the Wichita Emergency Rental Assistance Program (WERAP) administered by the city’s Housing and Community Services division, the city explained. 

Kansans can apply through the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program administered by KHRC. This apply link now works for City of Wichita, also.

The Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program provides rent, utility, and internet assistance to households experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID pandemic. Landlords and tenants apply via a joint online process.

If the application is approved, the landlord or service provider receives funds directly from KERA and applies KERA funds to the applicant’s account. Approved applicants are eligible for up to 12 months of assistance.

Apply Online for legal assistance or call 800-723-6953 


If you live out of state and have questions about eviction moratoriums in other locations, please check this website: https://legalfaq.org/


IRS/STIMULUS CHECKS

Read more at the IRS website about Economic Impact Payments here.


KANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT (KDHE) RESOURCES

KDHE's website has many resources for Kansans on issues such as resources for healthcare workers, how to protect yourself and others, what to do if you think you're sick, frequently asked questions, toolkits, and much more.

You can also get the up-to-date information on cases in Kansas.  https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/


PUBLIC BENEFITS

You may complete an online self-assessment through the Kansas Department of Children and Families that can tell you which services you and members of your family may qualify for at http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/ees/pages/application-for-benefits.aspx

You can use this page to apply for the following services: Food Assistance, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Child Care Assistance, Child Support Services, Medical Assistance, LIEAP.


UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

How to report a fraudulent claim filed in your name in Kansas.


UTILITIES

If you are behind on payments, call your utility to set up a payment plan. For information on assistance programs in your area, click here. 

If you have questions or need assistance in resolving a utility issue, please contact the Kansas Corporation Commission’s Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at (800) 662-0027 or (785) 271-3140.

Kansans struggling to cover rent and utility payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic may qualify for up to 12 months of emergency assistance, thanks to federal relief.

Tenants may qualify for the federal assistance if they earn no more than 80 percent of their area’s median income, are experiencing documented financial hardship as a result of the pandemic and could be at risk of housing instability or homelessness without assistance.

Wichita residents can apply for assistance through the Wichita Emergency Rental Assistance Program (WERAP) administered by the city’s Housing and Community Services division, the city explained. 

 

Kansans can apply through the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program administered by KHRC. 

The Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program provides rent, utility, and internet assistance to households experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID pandemic. Landlords and tenants apply via a joint online process.

If the application is approved, the landlord or service provider receives funds directly from KERA and applies KERA funds to the applicant’s account. Approved applicants are eligible for up to 12 months of assistance.

 

Page Updated 08/02/2021