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Pair of traffic calming projects — including a blue light at traffic signals — set for city

The white zone is for loading and unloading only. If you have to unload please go to the white zone...

July 1, 2013 at 1:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Conservatives changing state government

The lifetime limit for cash assistance (TANF) is 48 months now and it is strictly enforced. There are a few cases where folks qualify for a hardship and can get cash up to 60 months, but there is an absolute cutoff point at 60 months. There is no lifetime limit for food stamps however.

February 27, 2013 at 11:31 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas lawmakers want to review food stamps change

I did not say that all undocumented immigrants work for cash, I just said that it happens quite often. On the other side of that, however, many of the non-citizens will self-report their earnings. As far as being able to see where the SSN is being used, you can only look this up if they provide it. This is not usually going to happen, b/c they know it is illegal and they shouldn't be using that number. Moast are afraid that they will lose access to it if they provide it.
As for the employer statements, many employers will refuse to fill them out b/c they know they should not be employing non-citizens and are afraid they will get into trouble. In this situation the workers will have to use the KEESM policy that states that when the employer refuses to provide the info, then whatever verification that can be obtained can be used, which is mainly client statement. This does happen quite often.
I do find those statistics about the non-citizen contributions to Social Security, federal and states taxes to be quite interesting and informative. One of the questions I would have about the stats, though, would be how much of those contributions are paid in through a citizens SSN that is being used by a non-citizen. It may help the citizens Social Security, but I bet it sure messes up their taxes at the end of the year.
And another common issue is that non-citizens will apply for themselves and their children, knowing they are not eligible, and leave their spouse who is working off of the application. For food stamps it is not even a requirement to provide the name and info of the absent parent, as participation with Child Support Enforcement is totally voluntary. Whenever it is discussed during an interview for cash assistance, or if CSE goes after the spouse to pay child support to offset the state funded assistance, the spouse has usually left the country and gone back to Mexico or something along those lines. I would love to see some statistics on the success rate of establishing child support orders against non-citizen absent parents. CSE usually only has a name of the absent parent, and there is essentially no way to find someone with no other identifiable information to use to track that person in any of the income reporting systems or even look them up by public records.

January 25, 2012 at 9:50 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas lawmakers want to review food stamps change

I agree that it may not be the best way to go about closing the loophole, but there are a lot of inherent problems when dealing with non-citizens and benefit eligibility determination.. Non-citizens are basically able self-report the existence and amounts of any income being received and the verification requirements are then much more lax than with citizens. Unlike with citizens, there is no way to verify if a non-citizen is or has recently worked, it is basically up to them to admit to whether they are working or not. When they do work, it is often tax-free, under the table earnings. Since eligibility is determined using gross income for citizens, if we are counting the earnings of a non-citizen they are still earning more than a citizen b/c they will not then have taxes, Social Security, etc. taken out of their take home pay. Non-citizens also can essentially get cash assistance for free as well, which is another perk. If a citizen gets cash assistance, they will be required to participate in work program at least 20 hours week, which is intended to lead to a job and get them off of assistance. Because the state cannot place a non-citizen into a work program b/c of their illegal status and b/c they cannot be expected to obtain legal employment without a work visa or permanent alien card, non-citizens are allowed to receive cash assistance for their children with no participation requirements. If they so choose, non-citizens are able to hang out and have us pay them monthly with no expected requirements and they only have to report employment earnings if they choose to/feel like it. With these conflicting policies, it is easy to see how this issue can get charged with emotion on both sides. So wrong or right, this was at least an attempt to remedy one of the inequalities. I believe that the difference in taxes and Social Security that the non-citizens usually do not have to pay is in itself enough to offset any difference in food stamp benefit amounts that have occurred due to this policy change.

January 25, 2012 at 7:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Statehouse Live: Brownback says he will look into SRS food stamp policy that has cut assistance to some but plans no change

I agree that it may not be the best way to go about closing the loophole, but there are a lot of inherent problems when dealing with non-citizens and benefit eligibility determination.. Non-citizens are basically able self-report the existence and amounts of any income being received and the verification requirements are then much more lax than with citizens. Unlike with citizens, there is no way to verify if a non-citizen is or has recently worked, it is basically up to them to admit to whether they are working or not. When they do work, it is often tax-free, under the table earnings. Since eligibility is determined using gross income for citizens, if we are counting the earnings of a non-citizen they are still earning more than a citizen b/c they will not then have taxes, Social Security, etc. taken out of their take home pay. Non-citizens also can essentially get cash assistance for free as well, which is another perk. If a citizen gets cash assistance, they will be required to participate in work program at least 20 hours week, which is intended to lead to a job and get them off of assistance. Because the state cannot place a non-citizen into a work program b/c of their illegal status and b/c they cannot be expected to obtain legal employment without a work visa or permanent alien card, non-citizens are allowed to receive cash assistance for their children with no participation requirements. If they so choice, non-citizens are able to hang out and have us pay them monthly with no expected requirements and they only have to report employment earnings if they choose to/feel like it. With these conflicting policies, it is easy to see how this issue can get charged with emotion on both sides. So wrong or right, this was at least an attempt to remedy one of the inequalities. I believe that the difference in taxes and Social Security that the non-citizens usually do not have to pay is in itself enough to offset any difference in food stamp benefit amounts that have occurred due to this policy change.

January 24, 2012 at 8:54 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Statehouse Live: Brownback says he will look into SRS food stamp policy that has cut assistance to some but plans no change

The reason this change came about in the first place is because the previous method was actually discriminatory against American citizens. Under the previous policy you could have a household of four citizens be over income for food stamps, yet have a household of four with one or two of the parents being non-citizens, earning exactly the same amount of money, and they would qualify for food stamps. This change was intended to close that loophole.

January 24, 2012 at 7:54 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Statehouse Live: Brownback says he will look into SRS food stamp policy that has cut assistance to some but plans no change

The reason this change came about in the first place is because the previous method was actually discriminatory against American citizens. Under the previous policy you could have a household of four citizens be over income for food stamps, yet have a household of four with one or two of the parents being non-citizens, earning exactly the same amount of money, and they would qualify for food stamps. This change was intended to close that loophole.

January 24, 2012 at 7:50 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas SRS secretary pledges to keep eye on fraud

I had heard of this and agree that this is a good example of catching fraud by SRS, but I would like to see a better way to control the use of vision cards by those who are not entitled. The large and one-time amounts of these purchases might have sent up a red flag, but I am inclined to believe that this operation got noticed because of word of mouth from those participating in the scheme. The wrong person probably found out what was going on and reported it, as opposed to SRS tracking "unusual activity" on vision cards. What about the people who get somebodies vision card and go and drop $200 on groceries at Dillon's? This is not really out of place and the majority of fraud probably occurs at the big supermarkets like this anyway. In a town like Wichita, there are way more than 13 people engaging in continuous food stamp fraud and there has to be a better way of finding this fraud, I just don't believe that it can be tracked easily through the EBT system, which was my point above.

July 12, 2011 at 9:23 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas SRS secretary pledges to keep eye on fraud

I agree with what you are saying about painting the poor as crooks, but am not sure what you are meaning by tracking the cards for unusual activity. If you have a vision card with only food stamps, you can only buy food, that's it. All thats needed is the pin number and anybody can use it at any time. If somebody sells the card and gives the person the pin, there is not going to be any unusual activity, its just going to show up as food purchases which is what the card is meant for, not sure what can be done about this. All SRS caseworkers have access to the system to track purchases, it doesn't show exactly what food is bought, but it shows the amounts spent, but even with this info, what looks unusual? People are given a certain benefit each month and when its gone its gone, they can't go to the office and say they lost the card and get more food stamps. One of the good ideas I have heard from Siedlecki, though, is that they are working with the DMV's contractor to see if it is financially feasible to have vision cards produced with the client's picture on it. That could be effective, if the picture is a woman and man is using the card its pretty obvious he shouldn't be using it.

July 12, 2011 at 8:17 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

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