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News Apr 1, 2009 - 3:57 PM


Increased food stamp benefits go into effect today

By Governor Rell's Office





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More Connecticut Residents Seek Assistance During National Recession

Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that federal stimulus funding will help more than 230,000 Connecticut residents who qualify for Food Stamp aid by boosting the monthly benefits that help them stretch their household budgets.

Starting today, the new federal aid means an average increase of $38 in benefits per enrolled household in Food Stamps -- a long-time program now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Governor noted that applications and enrollments are up sharply, as more Connecticut residents seek help from the federally-funded food assistance program in these difficult economic times.

“These funds will be a tremendous help to Connecticut families and will help serve important needs,” Governor Rell said. “In just over a year, we have seen an increase of more than 14,000 households joining the program which clearly indicates the impact of the recession on our families and single adults.”

“The national downturn has affected many families who never before have needed to seek assistance,” the Governor said. “The increased benefits will help many families who, through no fault of their own, are struggling to make ends meet.”

Nearly 125,000 households were eligible this February, compared to just over 110,000 in January 2008. This is an increase of more than 1,000 households a month.

More specifically, 124,769 households in Connecticut were eligible for SNAP in February (230,350 individuals, including 90,343 who are children.)

A family of four at the lowest income levels will now be eligible for a maximum of $668 per month, up from $588 before the stimulus dollars kicked in. Across the program, state officials estimate that the average benefit increase will be $38. Specific benefit amounts are geared to income and household size.

In her 2010-2011 budget recommendation, Governor Rell has increased the income-eligibility limit from 130% to 185% of the federal poverty level so that more Connecticut families can qualify. For a family of four, the current income limit per month is $2,297. Under Governor Rell’s recommendation, a family of four could earn up to $3,268 and still qualify for food assistance benefits.

A household’s specific benefit is based on the household’s income and certain allowable deductions for shelter, dependent care expenses, medical costs and child support payments to others outside the household.

Households that qualify for the program receive an electronic benefit transfer card, similar to debit cards – not stamps or coupons – to use at food markets.

For more information, or to apply for benefits, please visit www.ct.gov/SNAP, or contact a local office of the Connecticut Department of Social Services.




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