EES Policy No. 21-06-04 (Clarifications added)

RE:  Adjustment to Hero Relief Program

Policy Memo

Contact Persons: Sally Hargis

From:  Sandra Kimmons

KEESM Reference: 7600, 10200, 10260

Date:  June 15, 2021
Revised July 29, 2021


Primary DCF Areas Affected: Child Care

Where Posted on Web:

Effective July 1, 2021, the Hero Relief Program outlined in Policy Memo No. 20-08-08 is being changed to provide assistance to eligible families for 12-month periods. All Hero Relief cases approved effective July 1, 2021 are to be set up with 12-month eligibility periods in accordance with KEESM section 7610. All other aspects of the Hero Relief Program remain the same except a slight difference in the definition of an essential worker as explained below and the reasons a case may be closed prior to the end of an eligibility period. See #2 under Continuing Emergency Provisions below.

This change is being made to provide the same continuity of care for these families as for families receiving regular child care assistance. Eligibility for these workers will be provided under the social service need within the following guidelines: Eligible Workers. Households in which the adults are employed a minimum of 20 hours per week and at least one adult qualifies as an essential worker as defined below. Reasonable verification of the parent’s employment is required. All cases receiving child care through the Hero Relief Program must be flagged in KEES using the “Child Care-COVID-19” flag. The processing date will be the begin date and the end of the 12-month plan will be the end date for the flag. This flag must also be used for any case that is denied due to not meeting the 20 hour per week work requirement. The negative action reason “Failed 28 Hr Work Req” will be used to deny the application. The worker will need to append the NOA using the Standard Copy and paste from the KEES user manual at this link: CC Denial/Discontinuance for Failure to Meet Work Hour Requirements.

  1. In the chart below, you’ll notice that for household sizes 7 and up, the household could have income that exceeds 85% of SMI and still be initially eligible. Normal child care scheduling rules, including setting up blocks of time, for these households will apply when determining hours of care needed.

  2. Income Limit. The decision has been made to restrict eligibility to families who have countable income of 250% Federal Poverty Level (FPL) or less. With the July 1, 2021 changes to regular Child Care income eligibility, this income determination will be able to be completed in KEES for families up to a size of 6. For families of seven or more, if KEES indicates that the countable income exceeds the allowable maximum, workers will need to also do an off-system calculation using Appendix worksheet W-14. If the W-14 calculation indicates that the family would be eligible for the Hero Relief Program, staff will need to adjust the income in KEES to the maximum allowable for regular child care for a household of that size, and document the reason for doing that in the KEES Journal. Monthly income limits are as follows:

    Household Size

    Regular CC eligibility limit 250% of FPL

    Hero Relief Eligibility Limit 250% of FPL

    85% of SMI





































  3. Eligibility Period. These plans will remain open and eligible for 12 months. The review due month in KEES will be the last month of the new 12-month eligibility period.

  4. As with other child care cases with a social service need, no family share deduction is assigned to these families.

All families applying for the Hero Relief Program will use the regular application form ES-3100. All applications for child care will be processed as normal, and if eligible will have the family share deduction waived. All cases receiving child care through the Hero Relief Program must be flagged in KEES using the “Child Care – Covid-19” flag. The processing date will be the begin date and the end of the 12-month plan will be the end date for the flag. Note that the adults in families applying for this assistance must be working. However, if they should temporarily stop working after approval, eligibility will continue through the 12-month eligibility period.

If a family who qualifies for the Hero Relief Program is using a provider who is not currently enrolled with DCF and they want to become enrolled, EES staff must note on the referral to provider enrollment that this provider will provide care for a family who qualifies for the Hero Relief Program.

Continuing Emergency Provisions

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, the provisions of EES policy Memo #20-06-07 related to additional benefits and those regarding child care case/plan closure are being extended for the duration of the declared emergency or until these policy exceptions are ended by the state. These provisions apply to both regular child care and Hero Relief child care except as noted in #2 below.

  1. Additional benefits. Upon request, families with current child care plans will have all child care plans for their children reevaluated to provide child care assistance for additional hours needed while those parents are working. The same considerations of parent schedules that would normally be used are to be used when determining the need for additional benefits. Additional hours/benefits shall not be authorized to duplicate benefits for any hours that have already been issued. Plans written with the original provider must be ended and new plans written with the new provider, when a new provider is used. Keep in mind that many parents who must work during this time will need extra hours above and beyond their normal working hours. Staff will use the best available information/prudent person to verify the need for these changes and will not require families to provide additional verifications. At this time, these additional benefits will be provided for the identified cases for the duration of the declared emergency or until this policy exception is ended by the state. Additional benefits for this period may be authorized back to the date the child’s regular provider closed temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, provided that the family makes the request for additional benefits by the end of the second month following the month their provider temporarily closed for this reason. For example, if their regular provider closed temporarily on July 13th, the family would need to make the request for additional benefits by September 30th. If the family requests additional benefits for July, only those hours for which benefits have not already been authorized may be considered. Refer to the instructions for the process of making these additional payments that were sent separately when Policy Memo #20-03-02 was issued.

  2. Child Care Closures. Regular child care cases are not to be closed or plans ended for any reason other than the client’s request, if the household’s regular income goes over 85% of SMI, if it is known to the agency that the child is no longer in the home or any system automated closure that is done by the KEES eligibility system. The closure reason of income exceeding 85% of SMI does not apply to Hero Relief child care cases for essential workers. This will continue for the duration of the declared emergency or until this policy exception is ended by the state and includes out of state usage, parents temporarily not using care due to pandemic concerns while the provider remains open and failure to provide requested information/verification. This will also include situations in which any current recipient family’s income goes over 85% of SMI due to working overtime or extended hours to address work/staffing issues due to the COVID-19 Pandemic disaster. This additional income is not countable, as it is not expected to continue and does not reflect their normal earnings. Therefore, that income is not representative. See KEESM 7110 for prospective budgeting.

    Note that a Hero Relief for essential workers child care case will not be closed prior to the end of the current eligibility period if a current recipient family reports a change that results in countable income exceeding 85% of SMI. As long as the Hero Relief Program remains in effect, the following provisions will apply to cases with the Hero Relief flag (as described above) at review provided that all other eligibility requirements are met: 1) For households sizes 6 and under, if countable income at review is 250% of the FPL or less, the household will be to be eligible for an additional 12-month eligibility period through the Hero Relief Program. 2) For households sizes 6 and under, if income at review is greater than 250% of the FPL but no more than 85% of SMI, the household would be eligible for an additional 12 months through the regular child care program and the Hero Relief flag must be removed. 3) For households size 7 and larger, if countable income remains at or below 250% of FPL they will qualify for an additional 12 months of eligibility through the Hero Relief Program.

    Note: Remember that parents who have been temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are expected to return to their same job are considered to be experiencing a temporary change that does not affect eligibility for child care. See KEESM 7640, item #1.

The Hero Relief Program remains open to the following essential workers (Note that there is no longer a requirement that any of these workers cannot practically work remotely.):

Healthcare workers:

  • Workers who perform critical clinical research, development, and testing needed for COVID-19 response.

  • Healthcare providers and Caregivers including physicians, dentists, psychologists, mid-level practitioners, nurses and assistants, infection control and quality assurance personnel, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists and assistants, social workers, optometrists, speech pathologists, chiropractors, and diagnostic and therapeutic technicians and technologists.

  • Hospital and laboratory personnel (including accounting, administrative, admitting and discharge, engineering, epidemiological, source plasma and blood donation, food service, housekeeping, medical records, information technology and operational technology, nutritionists, sanitarians, respiratory therapists, etc.).

  • Workers in other medical and biomedical facilities (including Ambulatory Health and Surgical, Blood Banks, Clinics, Community Mental Health, Comprehensive Outpatient rehabilitation, End Stage Renal Disease, Health Departments, Home Health care, Hospices, Hospitals, Long Term Care, Nursing Care Facilities, Organ Pharmacies, Procurement Organizations, Psychiatric Residential, Rural Health Clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers, and retail facilities specializing in medical good and supplies).

  • Public health / community health workers, including those who compile, model, analyze and communicate public health information.

  • Blood and plasma donors and the employees of the organizations that operate and manage related activities.

  • Workers who manage health plans, billing, and health information.

  • Workers who conduct community-based public health functions, conducting epidemiologic surveillance, compiling, analyzing and communicating public health information.

  • Workers performing information technology and cybersecurity functions at healthcare and public health facilities.

  • Workers performing security, incident management, and emergency operations functions at or on behalf of healthcare entities including healthcare coalitions.

  • Pharmacy employees necessary to maintain uninterrupted prescription filling.

First responders:

  • Public and private personnel (front line and management) in emergency management, law enforcement, fire and rescue services, emergency medical services, and private security, to include public and private hazardous material responders, air medical service providers (pilots and supporting technicians), corrections, and search and rescue personnel.

Food and agriculture workers:

  • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies, convenience stores, and other retail (including unattended and vending) that sells human food, animal/pet food and pet supply, and beverage products, including retail customer support service and information technology support staff necessary for online orders, pickup and delivery.

  • Restaurant carry-out and quick serve food operations, including dark kitchen and food prep centers, and carry-out and delivery food employees.

  • Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees—to include those employed in food ingredient production and processing facilities; livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing by-products for animal food; beverage production facilities; and the production of food packaging.

  • Farmers, farm workers, and agribusiness support services to include those employed in auction and sales: grain and oilseed handling, processing and distribution; animal food, feed, and ingredient production, packaging, and distribution; manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of veterinary drugs; truck delivery and transport; farm and fishery labor needed to produce our food supply domestically and for export.

  • Farmers, farm workers, support service workers, and their supplier employees to include those engaged in producing and harvesting field crops; commodity inspection; fuel ethanol facilities; biodiesel and renewable diesel facilities; storage facilities; and other agricultural inputs.

  • Employees and firms supporting the distribution of food, feed, and beverage and ingredients used in these products, including warehouse workers, vendor- managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers.

  • Workers supporting the sanitation and pest control of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail.

  • Employees in cafeterias used to feed employees, particularly employee populations sheltered against COVID-19.

  • Workers in animal diagnostic and food testing laboratories in private industries and in institutions of higher education.

  • Government, private, and non-governmental organizations’ workers essential for food assistance programs (including school lunch programs) and government payments.

  • Employees of companies engaged in the production, storage, transport, and distribution of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry, including seeds, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments, and other agricultural production aids.

  • Animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health (including those involved in supporting emergency veterinary or livestock services); raising of animals for food; animal production operations; livestock markets; slaughter and packing plants, manufacturers, renderers, and associated regulatory and government workforce.

  • Transportation supporting animal agricultural industries, including movement of animal medical and reproductive supplies and materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed, and bedding, live animals, animal by-products, and deceased animals for disposal.

  • Workers who support sawmills and the manufacture and distribution of fiber and forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood and fiber products.

  • Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary for agricultural production and distribution.

Judicial branch (essential services):

  • Judicial officers and personnel deemed essential by The Office of Judicial Administration to ensure the continued operations of the Kansas court system.

National Guard:

  • National Guard members that are on orders, to include state active duty, Title 32, or Title 10 orders and members in an Inactive Duty for Training status.

  • At the discretion of the Adjutant General, this category also includes full-time staff of the Kansas National Guard or Department of Military Affairs that are necessary for the execution of the National Guard’s mission.

Frontline child and adult protection specialists:

  • Social workers and human services or social services staff employed by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (or one of its protection and prevention services case management grantees) whose jobs require in-home and other face-to-face interactions with members of the public.

Child care providers:

  • Educators and other workers in these childcare centers, family childcare, schools, and other facilities who are caring for children of eligible workers listed above. Client statement will be used as verification.

Educators and other school (both public and private) workers:

  • Educators and select other school personnel including teachers, para-professionals and their substitutes.

  • Workers providing bus or other transportation services, food services, and custodial services for public and private schools, including those employed by contractors.

  • Workers providing other essential services within public and private schools may be determined eligible with the approval of regional EES or Employment Service PA’s and APA’s.