Wichita An increase in federal welfare benefits is providing little help to some low-income disabled Kansas residents.
That's because a 4.1 percent cost-of-living increase announced in October raised the income of many disabled people who receive Supplemental Security Income just enough to result in cuts in food stamp benefits.
The Supplemental Security Income program, which is part of Social Security, provides a monthly allowance. The state runs the food stamp program but uses federal dollars and follows eligibility rules set by the Department of Agriculture, said Dennis Priest, assistant director for programs in the economic and employment support division of the state Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.
"It doesn't seem right at all, but it's probably happening to everyone who gets SSI and food stamps, and that's probably a lot of people," said state Rep. Geraldine Flaherty, D-Wichita.
"Unfortunately, that doesn't really surprise me," she added. "I know people who are down and out, and we (the government) seem to do everything we can to keep them that way."
About 39,000 Kansas residents received Supplemental Security Income last year, the Social Security Administration said. And about 182,000 Kansas residents in 81,000 households receive food stamps, Priest said.
It was not immediately clear how many people received both benefits, but state officials said disabled people often receive both because of the low income level that Supplemental Security Income provides.