Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced Wednesday that the state will continue to provide extra home heating funds to low-income families in order to make them eligible for additional food assistance.
Connecticut, New York, and at least 13 other so-called “heat and eat” states used to provide a dollar a year in heating assistance to some low-income families, because by federal rules, that meant those families could qualify for a boost in federal food stamp benefits. The Farm Bill that passed in February tried to put a stop to that by requiring families to get at least $20 a year in heating benefits in order to qualify for the extra food assistance. In response, both Connecticut and New York increased the amount of heating assistance they gave those families to $20, so they’d still get the extra funding.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy now says he’ll continue that policy. He plans to dedicate $2.2 million to maintain the current level of food assistance for about 100 thousand households in the state. Both Connecticut and New York were criticized by some conservatives earlier this year for the practice, which was seen as exploiting a federal loophole. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has not yet announced if he’ll continue the practice.