LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania leaders on Thursday announced updates to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that will expand eligibility for the program. They made the announcement at the Lancaster Central Market in honor of Hunger Action Month.

Starting Oct. 1, the income threshold for SNAP applicants will increase to 200% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines, according to a release from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. The change will make more than 420,000 additional Pennsylvanians in more than 174,000 households eligible, the department says.

“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 Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Executive Deputy Secretary Andrew Barnes.

Applications for SNAP and other public assistance programs can be submitted online here. SNAP and Medicaid applications are accepted by phone by calling the Consumer Service Center at 1-866-550-4355. On-site County Assistance Office services are available for those who need them, as well, the department says.

According to Feeding Pennsylvania, 1 in 9 people struggle with hunger, or a total of nearly 2 million people.

“While our food banks strive to provide nutritious food for all Pennsylvanians facing hunger, our work is only a fraction of what the federal nutrition programs can accomplish. For every meal our food banks provide, SNAP provides nine,” said Jane Clements, CEO of Feeding Pennsylvania.