More than 73,000 low-income households that receive food assistance will get replacement benefits because of last week’s storm, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration announced Thursday.

The federal government will provide the $4.5 million in replacement benefits as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.

The benefits will be replaced automatically to eligible households in areas affected by the storm. Those include all municipalities in Fairfield and New London counties, and in 49 other towns where more than half the residents lost power for at least four hours.

The replacement benefits will amount to 25 percent of a household’s October benefit, and will be put into households’ electronic benefit transfer accounts on Saturday. Social Services Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby said that equates to an average benefit of $62, and ranges from $4 to over $300, depending on income and household size.

“For many families, the replacement of these benefits can mean the difference between having a meal and going hungry,” Malloy said in a statement, thanking the Obama administration and officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service for responding quickly to the state’s request.

Rhode Island, New York, Maryland and Virginia have also received federal approval to issue the replacement benefits, according to the Malloy administration.

In addition to those in New London and Fairfield counties, people in the following towns will receive replacement benefits:

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 recipients who live anywhere in the state can also make a special request for replacement benefits if they lost food because of Storm Sandy. For information on the process, visit or call 2-1-1.  Storm-related food losses must be reported by 4:30 p.m., Nov. 28.

The replacement benefits are not the same as the Disaster SNAP benefits program that was run last year in response to Tropical Storm Irene. That program came under fire after it was revealed that ineligible people received benefits, including some state employees. The Disaster SNAP program offered benefits to people who do not receive SNAP benefits already.

Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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