The Department for Children and Families, in collaboration with the Kansas State Department of Education, announced the creation of a Pandemic Electronic Benefit Program.

The P-EBT program will help families who have been impacted by school closures due to COVID-19 to purchase food for their children.

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program, which helps low-income households with utility bills, has also been funded for a new program, with applications accepted through May 29.

P-EBT provides a one-time benefit of up to $291 on a Kansas Benefits Card to Kansas families whose children between the age of 5 and 18 would receive free or reduced-price meals at participating schools. There is no application process to receive the P-EBT benefit.

DCF will issue the benefit in phases. Those families currently receiving free or reduced-price meals and who are enrolled in the food assistance or TANF programs should begin to receive their benefit starting this week.

A second phase also will include an automatic match with those families on free or reduced-price meals and who also are receiving Medicaid or child care assistance.

The final phase will include families that need to provide additional information to receive the benefit. Those families will receive access to a parent portal to register for the program beginning June 5. Parents should receive information from their school district on how to access the parent portal.

"Most families should expect to see their benefit in the next two weeks," DCF Secretary Laura Howard said. "If families have not yet received information about P-EBT, I encourage them to reach out to their local school district."

Energy assistance

LIEAP, which is a federally funded program that helps eligible households pay a portion of their home energy costs, has reopened the application period through May 29.

The application extension period is targeting new applicants or residents who were denied after Dec. 16, 2019, and want to reapply.

In Kansas, the program is administered through the Kansas Department of Children and Families.

Applicants must be responsible for direct payment of their heating bills. Income eligibility requirements are set at 130% of the federal poverty level. For an individual, that’s a monthly gross income of $1,354, plus $478 for each individual in a household.

The level of benefit varies according to household income, the number of people living in the home, type of residence, type of heating fuel and utility rates.

More information is available at

Kansas Gas Service, meanwhile, is suspending disconnects due to nonpayment through May 31.

A variety of options to make payments or set up alternative payment plans are available to customers who are facing financial difficulties.

Customers should visit or call 800-794-4780 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays.