PORTLAND (AP) — Food assistance benefits are set to triple in Maine starting in March.

The Department of Health and Human Services says the Working Families Supplement benefit will increase from $15 to $50 in month for about 13,000 residents.

Lawmakers approved the increase in 2011 using surplus funds from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew says too many families who receive food assistance are still going hungry because their level of aid is “inadequate.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service says nearly 15 percent of households in the state are considered food insecure.

The DHHS says they will issue benefits one week earlier than usual.

The funds will be distributed March 3.

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