Kansas Debt Relief: The Tools You Need to Escape the Debt Trap

Kansas is home to about 2,937,150 people, making it the 35th least populous state in the country. An estimated 10.6% of residents live below the federal poverty line, which is lower than the national poverty rate of 11.6%.

The state’s median household income is $64,521 — around $10,000 lower than the national household income. The average individual debt load, meanwhile, is $16,904.

If you live in Kansas and need debt relief or financial assistance, or if you’re planning to move to the state, here are your options.

Are you eligible for debt relief?

We may be able to help. It’s easy and free to find out.

Just here for resources? That’s okay! Keep reading, we hope you find our content helpful.

Kansas debt statistics

Check out these recent debt and credit statistics for Kansas:

  • Average individual debt: $16,904
  • Average student loan debt: $32,578
  • Average credit score: 721
  • Median mortgage payment: $1,140
  • Bankruptcies: 627
  • Personal income: $64,521
  • Child poverty: 12.1%
  • Unemployment: 2.9%

Debt collection laws in Kansas

The Kansas Consumer Protection Act protects residents from unfair or deceptive debt collection practices in the state. The Act also strives to simplify and modernize any debt collection laws.

Kansas also adheres to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Under these guidelines, debt collectors cannot:

  • Harass, threaten, deceive, or verbally abuse someone to try to collect what they’re owed.
  • Call the borrower without first identifying themselves and their reason for calling.
  • Contact the borrower at work without prior permission.
  • Claim to be someone they’re not, such as a legal or government representative.
  • Try to collect money not outlined in the original debt agreement.

You can find more information on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act here, or on the official website.

Debt relief options for Kansas residents

As a Kansas resident, you have several options when it comes to finding the debt relief you need:

  • Debt settlement: The process of debt settlement involves working with your creditors to try to reduce what you owe on a specific (unsecured) debt. Most people do this through a debt settlement agency.
  • Debt consolidation loans: With a debt consolidation loan, you can combine multiple high-interest debts — like credit cards or personal loans — into one loan with a single monthly payment. This can make it easier to keep up with payments. If your credit score is good, you may also qualify for an overall lower interest rate.
  • Debt management plan: You can enroll in a DMP at a nonprofit credit counseling agency. Under a DMP, you can consolidate your monthly debts into one monthly payment and start paying back your debts over time.
  • DIY plans: DIY debt settlement works similarly to traditional debt settlement, but you do it yourself. It requires good negotiation skills, so you can work with your creditors or debt collectors to reduce what you owe.
  • Bankruptcy: There are two main types of personal bankruptcy: chapter 7 and chapter 13. You may be eligible for one but not the other. In either case, you could potentially get a fresh start if you’re struggling with debt.

Debt settlement in Kansas

A debt settlement plan can help you pay off different types of unsecured debts, including:

  • Personal lines of credit
  • Credit cards
  • Personal loans
  • Other unsecured loans
  • Retail or store credit cards
  • Student loans in default
  • Old judgments

With a debt settlement plan, you’ll work with a reputable company to negotiate with your creditors on how much you owe on the enrolled debts. While the company does the negotiating, you’ll need to start setting aside a set amount of money into a secured account. Once an agreement is made, the agency will typically pay your creditors in a lump-sum payment.

Debt settlement is risky and doesn’t always work. It could also damage your credit score. When successful, however, you could see an overall debt reduction of around 50% or more (after agency fees).

This might be an option for you if the next step is bankruptcy.

Kansas debt settlement companies

Need a debt settlement company in Kansas? Here are some of the top-rated ones:

Kansas debt settlement attorneys

Or if you’re looking for a debt settlement attorney in Kansas, here are some options:

Debt resources for Kansas residents facing hardship

Kansas State offers many debt relief programs and related resources to residents facing financial hardship. These resources include help with rent and utilities, childcare, healthcare, and legal assistance.

Around 281,520 Kansas residents are facing hunger — or about 1 in 10 people. Like most of the rest of the United States, Kansas offers charitable programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). However, these programs are not always enough.

That’s where Kansas’ food banks and food pantries come in. These can help people find nutritious food for themselves and their families.

Here are some of the main food banks in the state:

Income and employment in Kansas

The current unemployment rate in Kansas is 2.9% across all industries. This is a major improvement from when it was 12.2% in April 2020. It’s also lower than the U.S. average unemployment rate of 3.5%.

Kansas ranks 22nd in terms of job creation with 20,800 new jobs in 2021 alone. This is good news for any current or new residents still looking for a job.

The Sunflower State has employment-at-will laws, meaning an employer can legally terminate any employee with or without notice or cause. This could lead to decreased job security unless the job contract states otherwise.

Kansas is also a right-to-work state. This means that it’s possible to obtain a job without first joining a union. The downside is that some companies might not pay fair wages.

How to apply for unemployment benefits in Kansas

To get unemployment benefits in Kansas, you must first register for an account online. This only takes about 5 to 10 minutes.

Once you have an account, you can file a claim either via phone or online. If you’re eligible for benefits and you have direct deposit set up, you’ll typically receive payments within two days of filing.

You can file for benefits as soon as you lose your job, but not before you finish your final day of work. Your first claim is effective the same week you file.

The information you’ll need includes:

  • Your full name and SSN
  • Mailing address (with county) and phone number
  • Dates you started and stopped working for the past 18 months
  • Driver’s license number
  • Proof of residency or nationality in the U.S.
  • Forms proving you were active duty within the last 18 months (ex. DD-2144, Member #4 form)
  • Any additional payments you expect to receive from your employer (ex. vacation or separation pay)

If eligible for benefits, you could receive between $135 and $540 a week. After applying, you’ll receive a document listing the exact amount and terms of your benefits.

It’s recommended that you apply online since the phone wait times can be lengthy. However, you may have to call if you:

  • Worked outside of Kansas in the past 18 months
  • Filed for unemployment in another state in the past year
  • Were a federal employer or in the military in the past 18 months

For more information, head to the Kansas Department of Labor website.

Banking and taxes in Kansas

For individuals, the tax rate in Kansas ranges from 3.10% to 5.70%, depending on income. You may also have to pay a local income tax, which varies by city or county.

About 3.8% of Kansas residents are unbanked. This means they have neither a checking nor a savings account. Unbanked people are more likely to take out high-interest payday loans or use credit cards for everyday needs.

Kansas housing market

An estimated 66.6% of Kansas residents are homeowners. The average home value is $215,770, an 8.4% increase over one year. In comparison, the average home value in the United States is closer to $356,000.

The median mortgage payment in Kansas is $1,140. Rent prices depend on the city and apartment size, but average out at about $1,012.

Kansas used to have the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) Program, but it has since closed. Currently, the Kansas Homeowners Assistance Fund (KHAF) is in its final funding phase.

KHAF is designed to help eligible residents avoid foreclosure and pay their property taxes. It can also help bring mortgage payments current, among other things.

To be eligible for this program, you’ll need to own your home and be 30+ days past due on your mortgage or property taxes. Your income must not be more than 150% of the area’s medium income. You may also need to prove a financial hardship due to COVID-19.

Retirement in Kansas

The average Kansas resident needs about $550,000 set aside for retirement. This is lower than what’s needed in most other states. The average Kansan has around $452,703 set aside for retirement — close but not quite enough to live comfortably.

Average Kansas insurance premiums

Full coverage car insurance costs about $1,698 a year in Kansas, while a basic coverage policy is around $410 a year.

A homeowner insurance premium for a $250,000 dwelling costs around $1,312 a year in Kansas. This is a little higher than usual, possibly due to extreme weather conditions in the area.

Payday lending status in Kansas: Legal

Payday lending is legal in Kansas, with the typical payday loan looking like this:

  • Maximum loan amount: $500
  • Maximum Interest Rate (APR): 782% on a seven-day loan
  • Minimum loan term: 7 days
  • Maximum loan term: 30 days

Statute of limitations on debt in Kansas

The statute of limitations on debt is how long a debt collector has to take you to court to try to collect what they’re owed. In Kansas, this period ranges from three to 10 years.

  • Medical debt: 5 years
  • Credit card: 3 years
  • Auto loan debt: 4 years
  • State tax debt: 10 years (no limit in some cases)

State hardship programs

Kansas has various programs for residents experiencing financial hardship, including:

  • Kansas Housing: Kansas offers emergency rental and utility assistance to low-income residents. It also provides assistance for legal services, deposits, and more.
  • Single Family Housing Repair and Grants Program (Section 504 Home Repair program): This program disburses loans to very low-income homeowners who need to modernize or repair their home. It also offers grants to elderly residents under a certain income threshold.
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program: LIHEAP works with low-income residents to help them afford their home energy bills. This is similar to the Kansas Weatherization Assistance program, which helps improve energy efficiency in homes.
  • Kansas Children’s Health Insurance Program: Kansas offers affordable healthcare to children from low-income households through CHIP and Medicaid. The Division of Health Care Finance (DHCF) also helps residents with disabilities, elderly individuals, and pregnant women find affordable healthcare.
  • SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: SNAP is a federal program that offers nutrition assistance and free food to low-income families. It was formerly known as Food Stamps.
  • Combined Application Project (CAP): CAP works by helping residents who qualify for more than one program — such as nutrition or healthcare assistance — find the help they need.
  • Kansas WIC: Also called the Women, Infants and Children program, WIC offers health education and nutritious food to low-income families. It also offers referrals to help the family.
  • Organization for Refugees & Immigrants: Refugee & Immigrant Services & Empowerment (RISE) exists to help immigrants find the resources and services they need to integrate into Kansas society.

Help for Veterans

Kansas is currently home to about 176,444 veterans — that’s about 8.1% of the state population. The Kansas Department of Veteran Affairs helps veterans and their families find the help they need when it comes to affordable housing, employment, and more.

Facilities in Kansas

If you need a VA facility in Kansas, here are some of the main ones:

  • VA Wichita Regional Office: 5500 E Kellogg Dr N Bldg 61, Wichita, KS 67218; (800) 827-1000
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center: 4101 4th Street Trafficway Leavenworth, KS 66048-5014; (913) 682-2000
  • Colmery-O’Neil Veterans’ Administration Medical Center: 2200 Southwest Gage Boulevard Topeka, KS 66622-0001; (785) 350-3111
  • Overland Park VA Clinic: 10500 Mastin Street Overland Park, KS 66207-5717; (816) 922-2880
  • Kansas City, Kansas VA Clinic: 9201 Parallel Pkwy; (913) 682-2000
  • St. Louis VA Medical Center: 915 N Grand Blvdel Pkwy; (314) 652-4100

Employment resources for Veterans

Need help finding a job or preparing for your next interview? Here are some resources that can help veterans and their spouses:

  • CareerOneStop has an online job search portal and various career resources and advice for veterans.
  • MilitaryHire.com is a large website that helps veterans and recruiters find each other.
  • VeteranRecruiting.com has online career fairs for active military members and veterans.
  • Helmets to Hardhats helps veterans transition into the civilian construction industry.
  • Hiring Our Heroes works with veterans and their families through job education, networking, and hiring events.
  • My Next Move helps vets transition into a civilian job that uses their military-earned skills.
  • Warriors to Work connects veterans and prospective employers, as well as helps them with updating their resumes and interviewing skills.

The bottom line

Kansas debt relief options like debt consolidation, debt settlement, and credit counseling exist to help struggling residents. Along with this, The Sunflower State also has a variety of state and federal programs designed to help people dealing with hardship beyond their control. If you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out when you need it.

FAQs

How long can a debt be collected in Kansas?

A debt collector can file a lawsuit against you for three to 10 years on most debts. After that, they cannot pursue the debt in court. They can, however, still contact you and try to get you to pay.

When does the statute of limitations begin in Kansas?

The statute of limitations on most debts begins on the last date there was activity on the account. In most cases, this is the date of your most recent payment or purchase.

Am I responsible for my spouse’s debt if I get divorced in Kansas?

Kansas has equitable distribution laws when it comes to divorce. Assets and liabilities (such as debts) incurred during the marriage are generally considered to be the responsibility of both spouses. During a divorce, however, the debts are usually split between both spouses based on their financial situation.

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