Archive for Monday, March 9, 2009

Federal stimulus plan will provide better unemployment, food stamp assistance to Kansans

March 9, 2009, 1:54 p.m. Updated March 9, 2009, 5:21 p.m.


— Unemployed Kansans have started getting an extra $25 in their weekly jobless benefits, and food stamp recipients will see an increase in benefits because of the federal stimulus package, state officials said Monday.

Additional federal funds are coming as Kansas and other states suffer during the recession. The number of unemployed Kansans has more than doubled from a year ago and those receiving food stamps increased 10 percent within a year.

Secretary of Labor Jim Garner said Monday the additional $25 is being added to weekly unemployment benefits, which average $328. The additional money will continue as long as a person remains eligible for unemployment benefits.

Currently, an unemployed Kansan receives 26 weeks of regular benefits and 20 weeks of extended benefits. The Department of Labor says more than 59,000 Kansans received jobless benefits in February, compared with about 24,000 for February 2008.

Garner said about 23,400 people filed unemployment claims for the first time in January, compared with 13,000 in January 2008.

“That $25 extra a week means an extra sack of groceries for the home,” Garner said. “It means a tank of gas is available for someone to be able to go to that job interview.”

He called the $25 is “a big deal for our state” because it meant $5.9 million in additional spending ability during February and similar numbers for future months.

Garner said the state also can get an additional $68 million from the stimulus package for unemployment benefits if it changes its law calculating eligibility. A bill to do that is being drafted for the House Commerce and Labor Committee.

But Committee Chairman Steve Brunk, a Bel Aire Republican said: “We want to see first what kinds of strings are attached to it.

“We want to make sure we aren’t changing the law where it would harm businesses in the long run. Does it cost us more in the long run to take the money?”

Don Jordan, secretary of social and rehabilitation services, said the stimulus package will generate an additional $12.6 million in the current budget year and $53.9 million in the fiscal year starting July 1 for the food stamp program.

He said benefits will increase 13.6 percent starting in April and remain at that level through the end of September 2010. For a family of four, with a monthly maximum of $588 in benefits, the stimulus means an additional $80.

Paul Johnson, of the Kansas Catholic Conference, said the increased funding will help struggling families.

“This is kind of a nutritional safety net that’s vital to families, he said.

The food stamp program is funded by the federal government and administered by the state. Eligibility is based on the household income being 130 percent or less of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that means a maximum monthly gross income of $2,297.

SRS says in January almost 207,000 Kansans in about 90,000 households received food stamps, compared with fewer than 187,000 people in about 85,000 households for the same period a year before.

About one-third of eligible Kansans don’t apply for food stamps, Jordan said.

“Some believe there’s a stigma,” he said. “Often, you find that among the elderly.”


gl0ck0wn3r 9 years, 1 month ago

mmmm magical stimulus plan... is there anything you can't do?

llama726 9 years, 1 month ago

The d-bag award of the day goes to LIBERTY_ONE. We didn't know how you felt about Liberty. Thankfully, you made it your username.

Dumbest name goes to gl0ck0wn3r. You're 1337 bro.

SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years, 1 month ago


When you subsidize anything, you get more of it. And when you tax something, you get less of it.

Maddy Griffin 9 years, 1 month ago

Liberty one, that's part of the attitude that got us in this financial mess. Heaven help the poor man, the greedy want more for themselves. Except there probably isn't a heaven.

Maddy Griffin 9 years, 1 month ago

And to those losing their jobs to this economy you would say what?? It wasn't Barney Frank or Chris Dodd. How did they personally benefit from this mess. I love that the right always tries to blame the Democrats. It must be Obama's fault too huh.

jumpin_catfish 9 years, 1 month ago

gimme gimme gimme, that's the hope and change we all need soooo much. Puff the magic president will fix all.

Thinking_Out_Loud 9 years, 1 month ago

Larry_The_Moocher wrote "The best advice today would be …work a little harder or get a job!" Which is naive at best with about one in every 12 persons unemployed.

And SettingTheRecordStraight wrote "When you subsidize anything, you get more of it. And when you tax something, you get less of it." Accepting this is axiomatic, here are some things I suggest be taxed out of existance immediately: Poverty. Cancer. Domestic violence. Racism. Gross oversimplifications of complex issues with poorly reasoned but pithy soundbites.Okra.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 1 month ago

It is becoming more and more clear: Obama's "stimulus" package has little to do with stimulating the economy. He's just giving away money because times are hard. We need programs that CREATE jobs. Throwing money at the unemployed is great and all, but it won't get us out of the hole we are in. It's not a "New Deal".

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 1 month ago

Larry_The_Moocher (Anonymous) says…

Do people on welfare loose their jobs too?

Larry, if you have ever had a child eat a school lunch, whether or not they received reduced or free lunches, your family has been a recipient of welfare. It costs more to provide the food and serve those lunches for those who don't receive free or reduced lunches actually pay. Many people actually work and receive welfare. Many people who qualify for food stamps, Medicaid and other entitlement programs do hold down full time jobs. Their full-time jobs still doesn't raise them above the guidelines for receiving these benefits. This is called a safety net and many people believe in this very bountiful country that there is a minimum standard of living that all people deserve.

I know a farmer in western Kansas who spouts off the way you do about welfare recipients. His children always received free lunches while they drove new pickup trucks. He could depreciate so much of his equipment that his net income was below the poverty level, hence his children qualified for free lunches. He bought unfarmable land when the CRP (Crop Rotation Program) was instituted and the government paid him to not grow crops on land he bought with no plan to raise crops on. But, boy, would he go on and on about those welfare cheats. He's not a welfare cheat, those other lazy people are the welfare cheats. Right!

John Hamm 9 years, 1 month ago

I was under the impression (silly me) that the "stimulus" plan was to be used to create new jobs.

Godot 9 years, 1 month ago

Being that billions of the so-called stimulus plan, and the subsequent billious billions of Pelosi's interim budget, include billions more of a downpayment of a future multibillion dollar bailout of Obama's Wallstreet sugar daddies, er, um, campaign contributors, I submit this:

"Make no mistake. Buying up “troubled assets” will not materially ease this crisis, nor will it even improve the capital position of financial institutions (see You Can't Rescue the Financial System if You Can't Read a Balance Sheet). Homeowners will continue to default because their payment obligations have not been restructured to any meaningful extent. We are simply protecting the bondholders of mismanaged financial institutions, even though that bondholder capital is more than sufficient to cover the losses without harm to customers. Institutions that cannot survive without continual provision of public funds should be taken into receivership, their assets should be restructured to better ensure repayment, their stockholders should be wiped out, bondholders should take a major haircut, customer assets should (and will) be fully protected, and these institutions should be re-issued to the markets when the economy stabilizes.

The course of defending the bondholders of insolvent institutions is not sustainable. Do the math. The collateral behind private market debt is being marked down by easily 20-30%. That debt represents about 3.5 times GDP. That implies collateral losses on the order of 70-100% of GDP, which itself is $14 trillion. Unless Congress is actually willing to commit that amount of public funds to defend the bondholders of mismanaged financials so they can avoid any loss, this crisis simply cannot be addressed through bailouts. Bondholders have to take losses. Debt has to be restructured. There is no other option – but the markets are going to suffer interminably until our leaders figure that out."

Godot 9 years, 1 month ago

ocean, it is a continuum of the American oligarchy, or, as some call it, the market makers. The more things change, the more they stay the same. To win, you have to be corrupt with them, or be smart and quick against them.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.