Almost 9,000 more people receiving SNAP benefits. Why CT leaders say that’s a good thing

On Tuesday, Gov. Ned Lamont announced that 8,959 more people have signed up for benefits since the state expanded eligibility in October 2022.

John Craven

Nov 21, 2023, 10:24 PM

Updated 246 days ago


Thousands of families won’t go hungry this Thanksgiving – thanks to a recent expansion of Connecticut’s SNAP food assistance program.
Better known as “food stamps,” SNAP is the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
On Tuesday, Gov. Ned Lamont announced that 8,959 more people have signed up for benefits since the state expanded eligibility in October 2022.
“Food insecurity is not something just in Thanksgiving and the holiday season,” he told reporters. “It's year-round.”
Maria Carrasquillo, of Bridgeport, is the face of SNAP in Connecticut.
She was already struggling to make ends meet in public housing. Then, a severe illness left her disabled.
“I was 197 pounds,” Carrasquillo said. “I went down to 102 pounds.”
Now, she depends on food stamps just to put food on the table.
“Very important,” Carrasquillo said. “Because I couldn't work.”
Lamont announced the new enrollment figures at the offices of End Hunger CT! , a non-profit that runs a food benefits call center.
“SNAP is a lifeline for about 230,000 families in Connecticut,” said Molly Stadnicki, the program director for End Hunger CT! “For every one meal a food bank can provide, SNAP provides nine.”
Now, a single person can earn $2,430 per month before taxes and deductions. For a family of four, it's $5,000 per month. That equals 200% of the federal poverty level.
“Prior to this expansion, a family of four with an income of $60,000 would not have qualified for SNAP, and now they do,” said Department of Social Services commissioner Andrea Barton Reeves. “We don't ever want to ever have one person in the state to have any kind of food insecurity.”
Children who receive free school lunches also got one-time bonuses this fall.
The expansion does not cost Connecticut taxpayers anything. All of the funding comes from the federal government.
Despite the expansion, Maria Carrasquillo is still struggling. Since she was recently approved for social security disability benefits, SNAP only pays her $106 per month.
“One hundred and six dollars is nothing. You go to a store, it's one bag and that's it. You're done,” she said. “It doesn't last, so what I do is, I go to pantries. And I’m not ashamed to say it.”
Under state rules, the most Carrasquillo can receive is $291. A family of four can get up to $973 each month.
That’s far below what many families need. According to the United Way of Connecticut, the average household needs to earn $45 an hour to get by. Their report found that 39% of families live below that threshold. In Bridgeport, where Carrasqillo lives, that figure is 69%.
To sign up for SNAP benefits, you can call 211 or apply here.

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