An Increase in Food Assistance for Residents – NBC New York (47)

CONNECTICUT — Governor Ned Lamont announced Wednesday that the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) will implement new levels of eligibility benefits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) of the state as of October 1.

As a result, approximately 44,000 additional Connecticut residents in 17,600 households may be eligible for the food assistance program. In addition, current members will receive an increase of more than 12% in their monthly benefits from the program’s annual cost-of-living adjustment.

Connecticut’s SNAP program serves more than 222,600 households, including 138,800 children. Formerly known as food stamps, the federally funded service combats food insecurity for eligible working families, other qualified adults, seniors and people with disabilities.

“Expanding eligibility levels will allow more individuals and families to qualify for this program and ensure greater access to quality, nutritious food at Connecticut supermarkets, grocery stores and farmers markets,” Governor Lamont said. “By continuing our partnership with the federal government, actions like this will help in our efforts to combat hunger and food insecurity.”

Under the new eligibility benefit levels, Connecticut residents will qualify for SNAP if their gross monthly income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level (for example, this would include $2,265 for a single person and $4,625 for a household of four people). This is an increase from the most recent eligibility benefit level of 185% of the federal poverty level ($1,986 for a single person and $4,086 for a household of four).

The annual cost of living adjustment will result in households receiving an average increase of 12.46% in their regular monthly food benefits. Specific amounts are geared toward household size and income. For example, a four-person household receiving the maximum SNAP benefit will see an increase of $104, from $835 to $939. A single person will receive an additional $31 in maximum benefits, from $250 to $281. Members will receive their first monthly payment that includes this cost of living adjustment on October 1, 2, or 3, depending on the spelling of their last name.

DSS Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford notes that people enrolled in SNAP automatically become eligible for other services, ranging from Head Start to winter heating assistance.

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“Simply put, qualifying for SNAP will help more Connecticut parents support their children’s health and education in other ways,” said Commissioner Gifford. “This is because families enrolled in SNAP are automatically eligible for Head Start, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. It’s also important to note that SNAP enrollees of all ages are also automatically eligible for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program. I join Governor Lamont and our partners in human services and advocacy in encouraging residents who need help with their food budget to consider applying for SNAP.”

Governor Lamont said Connecticut’s move to expand SNAP eligibility is especially timely with this week’s White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, the first such conference since 1969, and the launch of one national strategy with actions the federal government will take to help end hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030 so fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.

Guidance on the new eligibility levels, along with application and program information, is available online here.

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