Every parent knows that raising kids is expensive, and access to cash is essential to ensuring families can afford everyday expenses and weather emergencies. This is especially true for families in poverty, whose already tight budgets have been disproportionately impacted by rising inflation

The Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (KTAP) provides this direct cash support to Kentucky families living in deep poverty and kinship caregivers while also connecting families to workforce education and training programs and addressing barriers to employment such as child care and transportation.

While KTAP is a vital program for Kentucky’s most vulnerable families, it has not been updated since 1998 and benefits have not kept up with inflation or the needs of today’s workforce. To bring KTAP to the twenty-first century, the Division of Family Support (DFS), Department of Community Based Services (DCBS), and House and Senate Families and Children Committees recently passed a series of policies that: 

  • Double KTAP’s monthly benefit amount to adjust for over 27 years of inflation.
  • Increase KTAP’s eligibility levels. This increase in income limit means that a family of four who make up to $1,315 a month now qualifies for KTAP, for example.
  • Raise the asset test from $2,000 to $10,000, a change that is especially crucial for older caregivers who may be raising children off of retirement savings. 
  • Improve KTAP’s short-term diversion program to help families who need short-term, emergency cash support for things such as cribs, car repairs, and school supplies but do not need the long-term support of KTAP. 
  • Address physical health barriers to work by allowing KTAP funds to be used for necessary medical expenses such as glasses, hearing aids, and dentures. 
  • Smooth the benefits cliff by increasing the earned income deduction and strengthening KTAP’s transitional benefit program, the Work Incentive Program (WIP). 
  • Ensure families have a stable home by allowing KTAP’s Relocation Assistance Program (RAP) to be used to help families facing homelessness. 
  • Ensure immigrant families within the Cuban and Haitian Entrant Program – who can only enter the US through this program if they agree to work – have a smooth transition into the workforce by allowing them to access KTAP before their work visa is fully processed and participate in the Office of Refugee and Resettlement work program instead of the Kentucky Works Program. 
  • Eliminate the prior labor market attachment, which required families to have made $1,000 in the last two years and prevented chronically unemployed individuals from accessing KTAP’s work support services. 
  • Eliminate the deprivation factor, which made it extremely difficult for two-parent households to access KTAP.

Some of these changes went into effect earlier this year, while others will be implemented within the next month (April).

If you have any questions about these changes, your benefits, or are interested in applying, you should contact the Department for Community Based Services’ hotline at 502-564-3440 or visit the online benefits portal at kynect.ky.gov.

Please note that DCBS is the administrator of this program, and Kentucky Youth Advocates is unable to assist with questions or concerns around KTAP.

We thank the Division of Family Support, Department of Community Based Services, and House and Senate Families and Children Committees for bringing forward and passing these changes and bringing KTAP from 1998 to 2023. Kentucky’s families in deep poverty, kinship caregivers, and workforce are stronger because of it.

Photo by Pixabay