WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Benefits that help needy families put food on the table could soon be cut for thousands of in Connecticut.
The Trump administration wants to close what it calls a “loophole” allowing people with higher incomes to get benefits if they live in more expensive states.
It takes all the food in a huge Wallingford warehouse to feed the needy of Connecticut, and that is with the current level of federal assistance. Many families on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which is what we used to call food stamps, run out of food about three weeks into the month. and end up relying on food banks for the fourth week.
“We deliver about 25 million pounds of food to about 144,000 people, but that’s not going to be enough if these changes are in place,” explained Connecticut Food Bank Chief Executive Officer Valarie Shultz-Wilson.
The Trump administration wants to eliminate the ways different states determine who is eligible to receive SNAP benefits. If the individual eligibility requirements were taken away, it would make things a lot tougher on the working poor in Connecticut.
“So even though folks here are paying a lot more to live in the state of Connecticut, be it housing or transportation, the requirements are still the same across the board,” Shultz-Wilson said.
That would mean a family of four with a household income of $33,000 or more would no longer be eligible for SNAP benefits in Connecticut. That would probably drive families to a different kind of program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, which requires signing up for benefits all over again.
“It will increase the amount of red tape and the burden that our families will have to adhere to, because now they’re going to have to apply again for a separate benefit,” Shultz-Wilson said. “As opposed to just using the information that’s already in the system.”
If and when benefits are cut or run out, the Connecticut food bank and its member agencies are there to help. It just puts more of a strain on its scarce resources if more people suddenly need help.