Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Thursday that food-replacement benefits will be available for more than 73,000 low-income Connecticut households who lost food due to superstorm Sandy.
The benefits will be distributed Saturday to families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service approved Connecticut's application for $4.5 million in SNAP replacement benefits this week.
"For many families, the replacement of these benefits can mean the difference between having a meal and going hungry," Malloy said.
Thousands of families lost food to power outages or flooding during and in the hours after Sandy.
A total of 73,383 SNAP-enrolled families will receive 25-percent of their October benefit amount in an electronic benefit transfer accounts on Saturday, according to Malloy's office. The benefits range from $4 to more than $300, depending on the size of the family and the family's income, according to Roderick Bremby, Commissioner of the Department of Social Services, which administers the SNAP program in Connecticut.
"The average replacement benefit is estimated at $62," Bremby said.
SNAP benefits must be used for federally-approved food items and grocery stores and farmers' markets.
The SNAP benefits approved this week are different than the D-SNAP benefits distributed after Tropical Storm Irene. In September 2011, the federal government approved $12.4 million for residents who were not already in regular SNAP program.
Thousands waited in long lines for the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, including some state employees. The state launched a fraud investigation in December 2011 after it was learned some state employees were not eligible for the D-SNAP benefits they had received, based on their income. Several state workers lost their jobs after the investigation.
The current SNAP benefits have been made available for enrolled households in Fairfield and New London Counties, as well as 49 other towns where more than 50-percent of residents lost power for at least four hours, according to Malloy's office.
The 49 additional towns are: Ashford, Avon, Barkhamsted, Bethany, Bethlehem, Bolton, Branford, Bridgewater, Canterbury, Chaplin, Chester , Clinton, Colebrook, Columbia, Cornwall, Coventry, Deep River, East Haddam, East Haven, Eastford, Essex, Glastonbury, Guilford, Haddam, Harwinton, Hebron, Hampton, Kent, Killingworth, Madison, Mansfield, Marlborough, Milford, Morris, New Hartford, Norfolk, North Branford, Orange, Oxford, Roxbury, Salisbury, Scotland, Seymour, Sterling, Tolland, Westbrook, Willington, Windham, Woodbury.
SNAP-enrolled families who lost food as a result of Sandy in other towns can make a special request for replacement benefits. The requests can only be made for reimbursement for the cost of food originally purchased with SNAP benefits in October, and were lost due to power outages or other Sandy-related storm damage, Malloy's office said.
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