Governor Lamont Announces an Increase in Food Assistance for Connecticut Residents Beginning October 1
More working families, singles, and older adults will become eligible for SNAP; monthly benefits will rise more than 12 percent for all current enrollees.
Governor Ned Lamont announced on September 28 that the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) will implement new eligibility benefit levels in the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), beginning October 1, 2022, which will result in an estimated 44,000 additional Connecticut residents in 17,600 households becoming eligible for the food assistance program. Additionally, current enrollees will receive more than a 12 percent increase 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, older adults, and persons with disabilities.
“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,” 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 monthly gross income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (for example, this would include $2,265 for a single person and $4,625 for a four-person household). This is an increase from the most recent eligibility benefit level of 185 percent of the federal poverty level ($1,986 for a single person and $4,086 for a four-person household).
The annual cost-of-living adjustment will result in households receiving an average 12.46 percent increase in their monthly food benefits. Specific amounts are geared to household and income size. For example, a household of four receiving the maximum SNAP benefit will see an increase of $104, from $835 to $939. A single person will receive an extra $31 in maximum benefits, from $250 to $281. The first monthly payment that includes this cost-of-living adjustment will be received by enrollees on October 1, 2, or 3, depending on the spelling of their last name.
DSS Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford notes that SNAP enrollees automatically become eligible for other services, ranging from Head Start to winter heating assistance.
“Simply put, qualifying for SNAP will help more Connecticut parents support their children’s health and education in other ways,” Commissioner Gifford said. “This is because families enrolled in SNAP are automatically eligible for Head Start, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, and National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. It’s also important to point out that SNAP enrollees of all ages are automatically eligible for the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program. I join Governor Lamont and our partners in human services and advocacy to encourage residents who need help with their food budget to consider applying for the SNAP program.”
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 release of a national strategy with actions the federal government will take to help end hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030 so that fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.
SNAP enrollees are issued electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, which work like debit cards, and are replenished for every month of eligibility. The cards can be used at participating food markets and grocery stores, convenience stores, farmers’ markets, and online at many retailers for food items approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service. DSS recommends that SNAP enrollees change their EBT PINs each month to prevent benefits from being stolen due to illegal scams or skimming operations.
Guidance on the new eligibility levels, along with application and program information, are available online at www.ct.gov/snap.