February 2, 2016
Supporters and opponents have weighed in on a proposed bill that would give the Kansas Department of Children and Families secretary the authority to cross-check lottery winnings against a list of welfare recipients.
The department’s economic and employment services director, Sandra Kimmons, said at a Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee hearing Monday that anyone who wins more than $10,000 would have to verify their income and resources to see if they’re still eligible for poverty programs.
She added that recipients who are excessively replacing their benefits cards would be reviewed by the department’s fraud division and that the agency would verify the identity of all adults in the household.
Kimmons said the bill helps protect the integrity of the department’s programs.
“It furthers our efforts to help individuals move from poverty to prosperity through self-reliance,” Kimmons said.
The Wichita Eagle reports (http://bit.ly/1Ko6IKk ) that several groups oppose the bill.
Amanda Gress of Kansas Action for Children said the bill creates barriers for children and families to participate in poverty programs.
“Verifying the identity of all adults in a household penalizes multiple-adult families, creates additional administrative costs and delays assistance,” Gress said.
Rebekah Gaston of the nonprofit Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice said the bill wouldn’t help Kansas residents out of poverty.
“It does place unduly harsh penalties on recipients who don’t comply quickly enough with food assistance work requirements,” Gaston said.
If passed, the bill would add to the Hope Act, a welfare law the Legislature passed last year.