In Kansas, seniors are considered low income if they earn less than 200% of the federal poverty level threshold. In 2023, this figure is $39,440 per year for a two-member household. Seniors earning less than this amount are eligible for certain benefits. The earning threshold for Medicaid benefits for two seniors is lower than this at $24,353 which is approximately 125% of the federal poverty level. Benefit eligibility takes into consideration all sources of income and the value of assets held.

How Low Income Is Measured in Kansas

Low-income seniors in Kansas include anyone earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level. For a single senior without a spouse or partner, this amounts to $14,580. This means that a single senior earning less than $29,160 in 2023 is considered a low-income earner. For a couple, the cutoff is $39,440. All sources of income are considered, including retirement income, veterans benefits and annuity income.

While a senior with low-income status in Kansas may be eligible for certain benefits, the income requirement to qualify for Medicaid is considerably lower. According to Kansas Medicaid, a senior should earn less than $18,075 annually to be eligible for Medicaid in 2023, while the figure for a two-person senior household is $24,353. However, seniors earning more than this may be accepted, although excess income must go toward care costs. Kansas is currently one of the few states that hasn’t passed Medicaid expansion legislation that would increase eligibility for Medicaid.

Another factor to consider is that seniors applying for Medicaid in Kansas have strict asset limits. For a single senior, the limit is $2,000 and for a two-person household when both apply for Medicaid, it is $3,000. If only one person in a two-person household applies for Medicaid, the asset level for the nonapplicant is $137,400 and for the applicant it’s $2,000. Countable assets exclude the primary home, an automobile, furnishings and personal belongings.

Benefits for Low-Income Seniors in Kansas

Low-income seniors can apply for Kansas Section 8 benefits. These include the provision of housing in project-based apartments at affordable rents. Another alternative is the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which allows seniors to rent private accommodation from landlords participating in the program. Seniors benefiting from this program qualify for a subsidy that’s paid to the landlord. There’s a waiting list for these programs.

Seniors qualifying for Medicaid may also be able to use Medicaid to pay for certain home health care or in-home care costs through the Kansas Senior Care Act and the Older Americans Act. Seniors can also qualify for certain assisted living services under the Kansas Frail Elderly Home and Community-Based Service waiver, while those requiring nursing home care in Kansas can use Medicaid benefits to cover room and board plus some additional services.