More than 15,000 low-income CT households to get one-time back-to-school benefit
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Low-income families in Connecticut are getting a one-time back-to-school benefit from a COVID-19 relief fund.
Gov. Ned Lamont on Friday announced that the Connecticut Department of Social Services this weekend will deliver the benefit of $257.87 per child to more than 15,000 low-income Connecticut households on behalf of 27,000 children.
The money is part of the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund (PEAF). Lamont said the special benefit comes from a $7 million federal grant the DSS received from the Administration for Children and Families, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the American Rescue Plan Act.
Eligible households include those with children who received benefits through the Temporary Family Assistance program during May 2022, or who received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits and had no countable income during that same month. The PEAF benefits will be automatically sent to eligible households on Sunday, Aug. 21. The majority of payments will be delivered to the recipients’ electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards. Those who currently receive SNAP or TFA benefits in the form of direct deposit will have their PEAF benefits transferred to their bank accounts.
The state suggests updating the PIN on your EBT card because some people have been scammed. Changing the PIN will deter scammers from taking this money.
The DSS this week mailed letters to recipients notifying them that they will be receiving the benefit.
Lamont explained that his administration sought to time the release of the money to coincide with the back-to-school shopping season and the start of Connecticut’s Sales Tax Free Week, which runs from Aug. 21 to Aug. 27. During this one-week sales tax holiday, retail purchases of most clothing and footwear items priced under $100 are exempt from the Connecticut sales and use tax.
“Connecticut is the most family-friendly state in the country, and this one-time, special benefit puts money back into the pockets of families who have been struggling to make ends meet,” Lamont said. “In the coming months, many of these families will also receive payments from Connecticut’s recently enhanced earned income tax credit, which is one of the most effective programs for lifting working people out of poverty. These PEAF special benefits are another example of how the American Rescue Plan Act is supporting our country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and I thank President Biden and Congress for their actions to get this funding to those who need it.”
“These payments, possible because of the American Rescue Plan, could not come at a better time for families,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Sen. Chris Murphy, Rep. John Larson, Rep. Joe Courtney, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, and Rep. Jim Himes in a joint statement. “Back-to-school shopping is always expensive and with the increased cost of food, gas and other basic necessities, Connecticut families are feeling the pressure. We are pleased to see the funding we fought for in Congress delivered to the people who need it most.”
“We are pleased to offer our SNAP and TFA families this one-time cash benefit in time for back-to-school shopping and Connecticut’s sales tax-free shopping week,” said DSS commissioner Deidre Gifford.
These PEAF special benefits are separate from the 2022 Connecticut Child Tax Rebate, which is being administered by the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services and will provide taxpayers with a state tax rebate of up to $250 per child for a maximum of three children. Eligible taxpayers who applied for that rebate should begin receiving those payments in the coming days. The application period for that program closed at the end of July.
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