HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Gov. Ned Lamont announced that the department of social services (DSS) will implement new eligibility benefit levels in the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) starting on Oct. 1.

The federally funded service helps combat food insecurity for eligible working families, qualified adults, and those with disabilities.

44,000 people and 17,800 households will become eligible for SNAP benefits for the food assistance program. Current enrollees will also receive a 12.46% increase in their monthly benefits due to the program’s annual cost of living adjustment, according to Gov. Ned Lamont.

The SNAP program currently serves more than 222,600 households and 138,000 children.

Under the new eligibility requirements, state residents will qualify for SNAP benefits if their monthly gross income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. This would include a monthly income of $2,265 for a single person and $4,625 for a four-person family.

According to DSS Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford, SNAP enrollees automatically become eligible for other services including Head Start, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs as well as CT Energy Assistance Program.

Snap enrollees are issued electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, that work just like debit cards and are replenished for every month of eligibility.

Guidance on the new eligibility level as well as application and program information can be found on the state website here.