Programs help senior citizens with tax rebates

Seniors in Kansas City, Kansas, and Wyandotte County may apply for tax rebates on their homes and utilities, through a program launching Jan. 3 by the Unified Government.

Seniors may call 311 to make an appointment to present their paperwork and complete applications at available locations throughout the week. If needed, they may arrange for free transportation to their appointment.

Seniors are asked to plan 48 hours in advance for transportation.

Wyandotte County residents born before Jan. 1, 1967, blind or disabled prior to 2022 and own their home for an entire year or have dependent minors under the age of 18 living with them, with an annual income of $37,750 or less may be eligible for a tax refund.

The state of Kansas has changed the senior tax rebate programs this year and the UG has posted updated qualifications and documentation requirement on the website at

The Homestead Safe Senior Rebate Program is for Wyandotte County residents born before Jan. 1, 1967, blind or disabled prior to 2022 and own their home for an entire year or have dependent minors under age 18 living with them, with an annual income of $37,750 or less may be eligible for a tax refund With the new Senior Veteran Rebate, a disabled veteran or spouse of a disabled veteran may qualify if the annual income is $50,000 or less.

Utility and Sales Tax Rebate Program: Seniors residing in Kansas City, Kansas, and born before Jan. 1, 1967, with an annual income of $25,000 or less the opportunity may be eligible for refunds of up to $150 for utilities (electricity, gas, water, phone).

To ensure residents fully understand the application process and document requirements, the Unified Government Clerk’s Office will be holding one-on-one appointments starting Tuesday, Jan. 3, through Friday, March 31, to help answer any questions and walk residents through their applications. Appointments will be available at the following community centers and business locations throughout Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas:

• Beatrice L. Lee Community Center, 1310 N. 10th, Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to noon.

• Armourdale Community Center, 730 Osage, Tuesdays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

• Joe E. Amayo Community Center, 2810 Metropolitan,Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to noon.

• The Windmill KC, 840 S. 55th St, ,Kansas City, Kansas, Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Eisenhower Community Center, 2901 N. 72nd St., 9 a.m. to noon, Thursdays.

• KCK Annex Building, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays.

• City Hall, Office of the Clerk, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, no appointment needed.

For more information regarding the tax rebate programs, transportation and appointment scheduling, call 3-1-1 or visit the website at

Low-income energy assistance program to provide help with heating bills

Colder temperatures and winter weather has arrived in Kansas. The dropping temperatures and necessity of raising the thermostat are leaving some families vulnerable when it comes to covering their heating bills.

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP), implemented in the state by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF), allows peace of mind and financial assistance to families struggling to pay their heating bills during the cold winter months.

“LIEAP has helped our Kansas communities stay warm for many years,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said. “It is an important and valued support program provided to families during cold Kansas winters.”

Last year, $47 million aided approximately 40,000 households in covering winter heating bills, averaging $1,180 per home.

To receive assistance, applicants must apply on the DCF website,, by clicking “Apply for Services” or in person and be eligible according to the qualifications. Find a DCF service center closest to you at

The applications are available beginning Jan. 3, 2023, and must be received by 5 p.m., March 31. More information and FAQs on the LIEAP program is available at

To qualify, households must have an adult at the address that is responsible for the heating costs of the home. Applicants must be able to prove a recent history of payments on the energy bill (within the past three months), along with being at or below 150% of the federal poverty level.

The one-time assistance payment is determined by household income, number of persons living at the address, type of dwelling, and type of heating fuel.

Income eligibility guidelines are as follows. Funding for LIEAP is provided by the U.-S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Service through the Federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

  • Information from DCF

Here’s why food prices remain stubbornly high even as inflation cools

by Casey Quinlan, Kansas Reflector

Shoppers hoping for a little relief at the grocery store for their holiday meals were disappointed by the Consumer Price Index released Dec. 13. The CPI shows inflation cooling but food prices — particularly for some holiday staples — remained high.

The CPI increased 0.1% in November, which was lower than some economists expected. Over the last 12 months, it rose 7.1%. Food went up 0.5% last month after an increase of 0.6% in October. The food index climbed 10.6% over last year.

“The headline inflation numbers are encouraging for the general economy but consumers are not being relieved at the grocery store,” said David Ortega, associate professor at the department of agricultural food and resource economics at Michigan State University. “We’re looking at November being the ninth consecutive month of double-digit grocery price inflation. Grocery prices are still 12% higher than they were a year ago.”

In August, the cost of food shot up 11.4% over last year, which is a level not seen since May 1979, according to Marketwatch’s analysis of government data.

“The good news is that food price increases and grocery price increases peaked in August,” Ortega added, “They’re just slowly starting to come down. We’re headed in the right direction but consumers are still not feeling relief at the store and that’s because inflation captures the rate of price increases over time, so just because the inflation rate starts to calm down a bit doesn’t mean that things are getting cheaper. They’re just not rising in price as quickly.”

Supply chain disruptions, the conflict in Ukraine, climate change, the deadliest bird flu in U.S. history, transportation costs, and increased consumer spending on food, are all drivers of higher food prices, Ortega explained.

“We have supply chain disruptions and they’re starting to ease from the pandemic. But then we have the conflict in Ukraine that led to a surge in commodity prices earlier this year. Those have come down significantly, but it takes time for that to be fully realized at the grocery store.”

Climate change has also affected agricultural output, he said, which has meant less food out in the market and increased prices. Ortega said that although it’s hard to say when food prices will begin to come down, he expects that it could happen in the next six months or so. The International Monetary Fund released a report in October that said Federal Reserve interest rate increases will put “downward pressure on prices through the end of next year.”

Donna McCallister, assistant professor at the department of agricultural and applied economics at Texas Tech University, said prices always increase this time of year, compounding the problem for many Americans this month. According to Bankrate’s Nov. 23 analysis of the cost of holiday essentials, six of 10 of the most inflated prices were for food, including turkey, bakery items, eggs, flour and prepared mixes.

Consumers who prepared a Christmas ham, bought a frozen pie, or made sugar cookies for a party this month found significantly higher prices than last year. Ham was up 7.8% year over year, frozen and refrigerated bakery products were up 19.4%, and eggs were up 49.1%, the CPI. shows.

“A lot of that has to do with increased cost of production and transportation, but also increased demand for these things like butter, where people go out and buy things like eggs, butter, and flour for their cooking, so there’s also a demand story here as well,” Ortega said.

McCallister suggests cutting down on food waste by going to stores more frequently for specific meals, buying some items in bulk, or switching from name brand to store brand to save money this holiday season.

Kansas Reflector stories,, may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.
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