Patty Allegra-Babcock, left, heads out of the Pomfret Community Center with her cousin, Dan Johnson. In order to purchase food with her food stamps, she has to rely on her family and friends to drive her to a grocery store that is about 20 minutes away from her home in Pomfret. Yehyun Kim / CT Mirror

Connecticut’s Department of Social Services (DSS) will distribute more than $8.8 million in special food assistance benefits to children under 6 on Sunday, Aug. 13.

This one-time benefit is expected to reach more than 57,300 children or roughly 42,600 households. Each child will receive up to $172.72 as part of the social services’ Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Child Care Program.

For a child to be eligible for the benefit, they would have had to be under the age of 6 by Sept. 1, 2022. Children can also be eligible if they received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits from social services between last September and May 11.

This benefit is also applicable to children who received free or reduced-price meals through federally assisted meal programs in school during the 2022-2023 school year.

If a child did not receive benefits during that time, their funds on Sunday will be lower than the listed amount.

An application to access these funds is not required —DSS will automatically distribute the money to existing EBT cards. However, if a child had not previously received P-EBT benefits, or goes to a private school, a P-EBT card will be issued in the student’s name to the address on file with their school, according to a statement from social services.

The benefits can be used at any location that accepts SNAP/EBT cards including farmers’ markets and direct market farms. They can also be used for online access for delivery or curbside pickup from Amazon, Target, Walmart, Whole Foods, and other participating stores.

The benefits will be expunged if not used within 274 days.

More information can be found on the social services’ website.

This story was originally published by Connecticut Public on August 10, 2023.