Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the Connecticut Department of Social Services this weekend will deliver a one-time, back-to-school, COVID-19 relief special benefit of $257.87 per child to more than 15,000 low-income Connecticut households on behalf of 27,000 children.
Known as the Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund (PEAF), this special benefit comes from a $7 million federal grant the Connecticut Department of Social Services 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 (TFA) program during May 2022, or who received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly known as food stamps) benefits and had no countable income during that same month. These PEAF benefits will be automatically sent to eligible households on Sunday, August 21, 2022. 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 Department of Social Services this week mailed letters to recipients notifying them that they will be receiving this special, one-time benefit.
Governor Lamont explained that his administration is timing the release of these special benefits to coincide with the back-to-school shopping season and the start of Connecticut's Sales Tax Free Week, which runs from August 21 to August 27, 2022. 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," Governor 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," Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senator Chris Murphy, Congressman John Larson, Congressman Joe Courtney, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, and Congressman Jim Himes said 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," Department of Social Services Commissioner Deidre Gifford said.
These PEAF special benefits are separate from the 2022 Connecticut Child Tax Rebate, which is administered by the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services and is providing 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 will begin receiving those payments in the coming days. The application period for that program closed at the end of July.