In Connecticut, the average person receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits receives $134.82 per month. That works out to about $4.50 per day to spend on food. To receive SNAP benefits, an individual’s gross monthly income may not exceed $1,832. That’s a yearly income of $21,984. The average monthly rent for an apartment in Connecticut is $1,099.
SNAP benefits are a vital lifeline for people who are unemployed or under-employed. The idea that these benefits are “supplemental” may not be valid, given rent, utility, transportation,
health care and other household costs a person living on low income may have to meet each month. And SNAP benefits will not pay for vitamins; prepared or hot foods even if they are purchased in a
grocery store; or nonfood items like soap, shampoo, diapers or other household and personal care items that are typically purchased by grocery shoppers.
We can’t fully experience what it is like for someone struggling to make ends meet, but we can get an idea of it by taking the SNAP Challenge and living on the $4 daily food budget an individual in Connecticut has at their disposal.
Shopping for the week or hitting your local discount warehouse will stretch your food budget. But that’s not an option for many SNAP recipients. They might not have a car or live within reasonable distance to a large supermarket or a discount store. Much of their food comes from corner stores, convenience stores or bodegas. Try shopping for your needs at a local convenience store or gas station mini-mart each day or every other day to get closer to that experience.
Meals from friends and family are a great source of free food. But chances are that your friends and family are in similar circumstances and may not have extra food to share.
For more information on SNAP benefits visit the Feeding America website. This report from the State of Connecticut Office of Legislative Research offers a summary of how the program works in Connecticut.