(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — The commonwealth has increased its income threshold for SNAP benefits.

Following the increase, an additional 174,000 households will be newly eligible for SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and can receive an average of $63 per month.

“Being able to eat and nourish yourself every day is one of the most essential building blocks to living well and doing everything else in life. It’s easy to take for granted, but for too many people, being able to afford your next meal isn’t a given. SNAP helps to make that possible,” said Andrew Barnes, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services executive deputy secretary. “Expanding eligibility for SNAP allows us to extend a reprieve to people who may be struggling so we can help more Pennsylvanians meet this most essential need that literally fuels us to live, work, grow and thrive.”

The new threshold is 200% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.

DHS will expand Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility for SNAP beginning on Oct. 1. SNAP is a federal program funded through the federal budget. States administer eligibility and issuance of benefits, according to an announcement from the Department of Human Services.

With the change, the monthly income limits for households are:

Household Size200 % FPIG
Each additional member$788

Department of Human Services

More than 1.8 million Pennsylvanians receive SNAP benefits for groceries.

Applications for SNAP and other public assistance programs can be submitted online at www.compass.state.pa.us. SNAP and Medicaid applications are accepted by phone by calling the Consumer Service Center at (866) 550-4355. On-site County Assistance Office (CAO) services are available if clients cannot access online services or need assistance that cannot be accessed through the COMPASS website, the myCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling the Customer Service Centers at (215) 560-7226 for Philadelphia clients or (877) 395-8930 for clients in all other counties.