Cuts to SNAP Food Program Would Be Devastating for Struggling Older Adults
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Cuts to SNAP Food Program Would Be Devastating for Struggling Older Adults

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July 10, 2012

NCOA Media Contact:
Ken Schwartz
Director, Marketing & Communications
202-600-3131
ken.schwartz@ncoa.org

Washington, D.C. – This morning, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) joined members of Congress, Feeding America, the Food Research and Action Center, advocates, and representatives from dozens of national organizations to oppose $16 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) included in the proposed House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill reauthorization. The Committee is expected to vote on the legislation tomorrow.

Nearly 3 million older adults receive SNAP, and 80% of them live alone. SNAP makes nutritious food more affordable for these vulnerable seniors, reducing health costs by helping them manage and prevent chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.

Yet, due to inadequate outreach and enrollment, only 1 in 3 seniors who qualifies for SNAP actually receives this valuable benefit.

“These cuts would be catastrophic for vulnerable older adults and their families,” said NCOA President & CEO Jim Firman. “93% of SNAP benefits go to households below the poverty line, and 76% of SNAP households include an elderly person, child, or disabled person. Taking food out of the mouths of people living at or near the poverty level is unconscionable act, especially when the unemployment rate is so high.”

In addition to keeping individuals safe and well-fed, SNAP is a well-established and efficient way to stimulate local economies. Every $1 worth of SNAP benefits in an eligible recipient’s pocket turns into a $1.73 benefit to local communities via grocery stores, farm stands, or even Wal-Mart.
 
Without SNAP and other federal benefits, millions of vulnerable older adults will be forced to make a grim choice between buying groceries or filling prescriptions; putting food on the table or paying utility bills.

NCOA is encouraging older adults, their families, and caregivers to call on Congress to oppose these drastic cuts. Concerned advocates can call toll-free 1-877-698-8228 today to be connected to their Representative’s office and ask them to vote NO on proposed SNAP cuts in the Farm Bill.

For more information, please visit www.ncoa.org/SNAP or visit www.FeedingAmerica.org.

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About NCOA  The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the nation’s leading nonprofit service and advocacy organization representing older adults and the community organizations that serve them. Our goal is to improve the health, independence, and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. For more than 60 years, NCOA has been a trusted voice and innovative problem-solver helping seniors navigate the challenges of aging in America. We work with local and national partners to give older adults tools and information to stay healthy and secure, and we advocate for programs and policies to improve the lives of all seniors, especially the most vulnerable. For more information, please visit www.ncoa.org.

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