Once you are approved to receive Kansas food stamp benefits, you will be issued a benefits card by the Kansas Department of Children and Families (DCF). This card is known as an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card that may be used in the same way as a debit card at the cash register.
The amount of benefits you receive on your card will depend on your household size and net monthly income. You will receive Kansas SNAP benefits from the date at which you submitted your application, and you may use them at your discretion.
However, you can only use your benefits to purchase certain approved food items. Therefore, it is important to understand what items are eligible for purchase under the program, and which items are not. Read on to learn more about using your food stamp benefits in Kansas.
Which food items can you buy using food stamps in Kansas?
KS SNAP assistance is designed to help families access healthy, adequate meals. Therefore, your food stamp benefits may be used to purchase a variety of foods, namely staple and accessory foods.
Staple foods are those that make up the majority of a healthy diet. Staple foods include:
- Meat, poultry and fish
- Fruits and vegetables
- Bread and cereals
- Dairy products
Because staple foods all play a role in providing adequate nutrition, there are very little limitations on purchasing them. You may purchase these items fresh, or you may purchase them in a frozen or packaged form. So long as the food item does not have a disqualifying characteristic, you may purchase it.
You may also purchase accessory food items using SNAP benefits. Accessory food items can include snack food and dessert items, despite the fact that these items are not typically considered healthy.
However, accessory food items also include items that complement and supplement meals. This may include side dishes, beverages, seasonings and ingredients. For example, you may use your food stamp benefits to purchase:
- Cooking oils
Finally, you may use your benefits to purchase plants and seeds that would be used to provide food for your household. For example, seeds for a tomato plant that you would keep at your house are an acceptable purchase under the KS SNAP program.
Products You Cannot Buy Using Food Stamps in Kansas
There are several items that are prohibited from purchase under the SNAP program in Kansas. The largest category of these items would be non-food items.
Non-food items are often sold alongside eligible items in grocery stores, so it is easy to forget that SNAP will not cover these items while shopping. Some examples of non-food items include:
- Pet foods.
- Household supplies, such as paper towels.
- Hygiene products.
Additionally, there are some items that are not eligible for purchase that are not as obvious. These include:
- Alcohol or tobacco products.
- Prepared food or hot food.
- Live animals.
- Supplements, vitamins or medicines.
Food stamps may not be used to purchase food that is designed for immediate consumption. That includes foods in restaurants. However, it also includes items that are sold at convenience or grocery stores.
For example, some grocers sell rotisserie chickens, hot and ready for consumption at the point of sale. Your SNAP benefits will not be able to purchase this item, despite being able to purchase all of the ingredients necessary for a rotisserie chicken.
To help you identify what items may not be eligible for purchase under this rule, look for labels. These ineligible items often say “grab-and-go” and “hot-and-ready” on the packaging.
Additionally, supplements may also pose trouble for SNAP beneficiaries, because these products are often similar to eligible food items. For example, gummy vitamins are not eligible for purchase, while gummy snacks are. Also, some herbal teas are considered supplements, while others are not.
To determine whether or not an item may be purchased with your food stamp benefits, look at the product label. If the item has a Nutrition Facts label, it is likely eligible for purchase. However, if it has a Supplement facts label, it is considered a supplement and is not covered under SNAP.
For more information on what you can use your food stamp benefits for, download our free guide.
How are food stamps benefits amounts calculated in Kansas?
When you complete the process to apply, your Kansas food stamp benefits are determined by your household size and your household’s income level. The USDA has preset maximum benefit allotments for each household size. For example, in Kansas, a household of one person has a maximum allotment of $192 a month.
Households are also expected to contribute part of their net monthly income to their grocery bill. In general, households are expected to use 30 percent of their net income for food.
Therefore, to determine how much you may receive, you can multiply your net monthly income by .30. Then, take the figure you receive and subtract it from the maximum allotment amount for your household size. Alternatively, you may consider using a food stamp calculator.
A SNAP calculator is available online and can provide an estimate on how much your family may expect in benefits. To use it, you will simply need to input your household’s income and demographic information.
When do you start receiving SNAP benefits after applying in Kansas?
Once you submit your application, the local DCF office has 30 days to process your application and issue your food stamp benefits. In some cases, however, you may qualify for an expedited processing period.
Households with little-to-no income at the time of the application qualify for a seven-day processing period. For example, a household that earns less than $150 in monthly income will qualify for his processing time.
In either case, you will receive your benefits on an EBT card, referred to by the state as the Kansas Benefits card. You will use this card at the cash register to pay for your food items, in the same way that you would use a debit card.
DCF issues SNAP benefits beginning with the date at which you submitted your application. After that, your card will be reloaded with the appropriate benefit amount each month.
For more information on how much you may receive in SNAP benefits, download our free guide.