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Kansas Cuts Food Benefits For Some Immigrants' Families

The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services recently cut off hundreds – possibly thousands – of immigrant families from receiving food stamps.

Non-citizens, even if they're here legally, are barred from what's now called the Supplemental Nutrional Assistance Program, or SNAP.  If their children are US citizens, they are eligible for food aid.  But SRS just changed the eligibility formula for these mixed-status families, making it more difficult for them to qualify.  

Officials say the new formula ensures that immigrant families never receive more benefits than entirely US citizen families.  Immigrant advocates and some social service agencies say that rarely happened, and that as a result of the policy change, some children may be going hungry.

Dave Ranney, a senior writer and editor at the Kansas Health Institute, has been reporting on this issue (hereand an update here).  He talked to KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross about  how this policy change came to affect so many Kansas families.

This story was produced for KC Currents, which airs Sundays at 5pm with a repeat Mondays at 8pm. To listen on your own schedule, subscribe to the KC Currents podcast.

Sylvia Maria Gross is storytelling editor at KCUR 89.3. Reach her on Twitter @pubradiosly.
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