**DSS Field Offices are now open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

**DSS Field Offices and our staffed telephone Benefits Center (1-855-6-CONNECT or 1-855-626-6632) are closed on Wednesdays to allow our staff time to process applications, renewals and related work.

**24/7 access: Customers can access benefit and application information, at www.connect.ct.gov and www.ct.gov/dss/apply; or our automated Client Information Line at 1-855-6-CONNECT (1-855-626-6632). More about 24/7 access options at www.ct.gov/dss/fieldoffices.

Commissioner

Deidre S. Gifford, MD, MPH

Dr. Deidre S. Gifford serves the State of Connecticut as Commissioner of the Department of Social Services and Acting Commissioner of the Department of Public Health.

Dr. Gifford was appointed by Governor Ned Lamont to lead the Department of Social Services in June 2019, after executive service with the federal Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, and experience in medical practice, non-profit advocacy and government health service in Rhode Island

In May 2020, Governor Lamont appointed Dr. Gifford to also serve as Acting Commissioner of the Department of Public Health.  In this role, she is a leading member of the Governor’s team in planning and implementing the state’s comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Prior to beginning service in Connecticut, Commissioner Gifford was Deputy Director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) Services at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) since 2016.  Before joining CMS, she served as the Director of State Policy and Programs at the National Association of Medicaid Directors, where she led that organization’s efforts with states to support and advance value-based purchasing in Medicaid.

From 2012 to 2015, Commissioner Gifford served as Medicaid Director in the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services, having previously served as the agency’s medical director.  During her tenure, she advanced changes in the payment and delivery system to improve the quality of care and enhance the value of Medicaid services, including the development of numerous initiatives in care coordination, information technology, and provider payment innovations.

Commissioner Gifford was co-founder and Project Director of Rhode Island’s multi-payer Medical Home demonstration, one of the nation’s first and most enduring multi-payer payment reform initiatives.  She was also the Director of Healthcare Policy and Programs for Rhode Island’s Medicare Quality Improvement Organization.

A graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles, Commissioner Gifford received her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in New York. She specialized in obstetrics and gynecology, and received a master of public health degree in epidemiology from UCLA.

The Department of Social Services (www.ct.gov/dss) supports the basic needs of about 1 million Connecticut children, families and individuals, including older adults and persons with disabilities.  With service partners, the agency provides health care coverage, food and nutrition assistance, financial assistance, child support services, energy aid, independent living services, social work services, protective services for the elderly, home-heating aid, and additional vital assistance. 

The Department of Public Health (www.ct.gov/dph) protects and improves the health and safety of Connecticut residents by assuring the conditions in which people can be healthy; preventing disease, injury, and disability; and promoting the equal enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, which is a human right and a priority of the state.

[updated 7-8-21]