A change in income eligibility requirements in Colorado means thousands of families may now qualify for food assistance.
The Colorado Department of Human Services is increasing the income cut off to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level in place of the previous 130 percent cut off, according to Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger.
"If you think about a family of three, a mom and two kids, mom had to make less than $35,000 for us to examine whether the family was eligible for food assistance. But now mom can make up to $40,000 for us to examine if she's eligible," explained Ki'i Powell, the Director of Colorado's Office of Economic Security.
In Colorado, the food assistance program is called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It was formerly known as Food Stamps.
Colorado currently has about 200,000 families on SNAP. The change could make another 100,000 families eligible for assistance, Powell said.
"This really impacts family working in low wage jobs," Powell said.
Powell explained the change means families working in those low wage jobs can now work hard for a raise, or take extra shifts, without worrying about losing their eligibility in the program.
"Helping people become food secure helps them do better in school, and for seniors, it reduces rates of diabetes and reduces rates of hospitalizations," Powell said.
Learn more about applying for SNAP benefits and see the pre-screening tool here.