Food Stamps: Connecticut Expands SNAP Eligibility to Better Address Food Insecurity
A move by Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont to expand the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will result in an additional 44,000 residents becoming eligible for help paying their food bills.
In a Sept. 28 announcement, Lamont said the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) would implement new eligibility benefit levels in SNAP beginning this month. Because of the new policy, an additional 17,600 households will be eligible for SNAP, a federal program that provides food purchasing assistance and food security to low-income families.
Additionally, current enrollees will receive an increase of more than 12% in their monthly benefits from the program’s annual cost-of-living adjustment.
“Expanding the eligibility levels will enable a greater number of individuals and families to qualify for this program and ensure increased access to quality, nutritious food at Connecticut supermarkets, grocery stores, and farmers markets,” Lamont said in a statement. “By continuing our partnership with the federal government, actions like this will help in our efforts to combat hunger and food insecurity.”
SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture but administered at the state level. Instead of being issued food stamps, recipients now have their monthly payments loaded onto Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. EBT cards work like debit cards and can be used to purchase food at grocery stores, other retailers, and participating farmer’s markets and restaurants.
Connecticut’s SNAP program serves more than 222,600 households, including 138,800 children, according to a press release issued by Lamont’s office. Under the new eligibility benefit levels — which went into effect on Oct. 1, 2022 — residents will qualify for SNAP if their monthly gross income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. This would include $2,265 a month for a single person and $4,625 for a four-person household.
The new level represents an increase from the most recent eligibility benefit level of 185% of the federal poverty level, or $1,986 for a single person and $4,086 for a four-person household.
Thanks to the annual cost-of-living adjustment, households will receive an average increase of 12.46% in their regular monthly food benefits. Specific amounts are based on household and income size. For example, a household of four receiving the maximum SNAP benefit will see an increase of $104 a month, from $835 to $939. A single person will receive an extra $31 in maximum benefits per month, from $250 to $281.
The new benefit levels were largely applauded by members of Connecticut’s food assistance community.
“SNAP is the first line of defense against food insecurity. For every meal we can provide here at a food bank, SNAP can provide 10 meals,” FoodShare President & CEO Jason Jakubowski told NBC Connecticut.
Funding for the expanded coverage comes through resources already provided by the federal government to areas the state had previously not explored, NBC Connecticut reported, citing statements from DSS officials.
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Guidance on the new eligibility levels, along with application and program information, are available online at www.ct.gov/snap.
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