More than 100,000 households in Connecticut will receive additional Emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits next Wednesday, according to an announcement from the Connecticut Department of Social Services.
The department will provide $16.9 million in SNAP benefits as authorized by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, legislation signed in March that allowed states more flexibility in providing SNAP benefits. For Connecticut, this means that all households enrolled in SNAP will receive the maximum benefit allowable for their household size, even if they are not normally eligible.
The $16.9 million comes on top of $157.2 million in additional emergency benefits disbursed each month since April. The average additional household benefit will be $154.
Out of the 210,279 Connecticut families currently receiving SNAP benefits, half of them qualify for less than the maximum benefit, which is $374 for a household of two and $680 for a family of four. This supplemental funding allows the state to provide all Connecticut households the maximum allotment possible.
SNAP — the program formerly known as Food Stamps — helps low-income households afford food at supermarkets, grocery stores, and farmers’ markets. The program has seen success in decreasing food insecurity, with one analysis finding it the most successful government program at alleviating childhood poverty.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in food insecurity as unemployment has soared and many children have lost access to school lunches, leading more Connecticut families to rely on SNAP benefits.
The state has also increased flexibility with the SNAP program amidst the pandemic, eliminating periodic review forms and automatically renewing eligibility for six months.