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Kansas ends waiver on food stamps

WICHITA — A federal waiver offering about 20,000 unemployed Kansas residents food assistance will be allowed to expire at the end of the month, state officials revealed Wednesday, saying they wanted to encourage work over welfare dependency.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families said able-bodied adults with no dependents would need to work no less than 20 hours per week to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as SNAP or food stamps.

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The work requirement to receive food stamps was first implemented in 1996 as part of welfare reform. But the 2009 stimulus bill allowed states to waive the requirements for able-bodied adults with no children. Since then, states have been allowed to keep using the waiver as long as they meet certain criteria.

Kansas no longer meets the criteria because of its low unemployment rate, but the state was offered the chance to use an earlier higher unemployment rate to continue the waiver. Kansas rejected that offer, opting instead to let the waiver expire on Sept. 30.

Delaware, New Hampshire, Vermont, Wyoming, and Utah had also ended the waiver.

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