Arlington, VA (April 17, 2018) – The following is a statement from Howard Bedlin, National Council on Aging Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy, regarding the SNAP work requirement changes included in the draft Farm bill:
“For decades, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has empowered low-income people in our nation to put food on the table. NCOA believes that every American deserves to age with their best possible health and economic security, and SNAP often plays a critical role.
“Most Americans who turn to benefit programs like SNAP are employed—sometimes in more than one job—and just can’t make ends meet. In today’s economy, high costs outweigh wages for many families. For people aged 50-59, the specter of age discrimination in the workplace makes even the threat of work requirements for SNAP a terrifying proposition. This bill’s stringent work requirements also fail to take into consideration the work many are already doing as caregivers for young or disabled children, as well as aging parents, whose health and independence challenges may go far beyond the shortsighted label of “incapacitated.”
“The draft bill does call for an increase in access to job training programs, but it only pays for those changes by cutting food benefits for a reported 1 million people. It also increases the asset limit and continues categorical eligibility for older adults up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Line. Thus, the draft bill both acknowledges that older people with modest savings struggle with food insecurity, but limits the eligibility flexibility given to states while increasing their administrative burdens and costs.
“Lifelong access to healthy food is as imperative to our lives as access to medical care and education. We call on the House Committee on Agriculture to reconsider these proposals that would weaken SNAP’s structure and limit access for people of all ages.”
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well. Since 1950, our mission has not changed: Improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. NCOA empowers people with the best solutions to improve their own health and economic security—and we strengthen government programs that we all depend on as we age. Every year, millions of people use our signature programs BenefitsCheckUp®, My Medicare Matters®, and the Aging Mastery Program® to age well. By offering online tools and collaborating with a nationwide network of partners, NCOA is working to improve the lives of 40 million older adults by 2030. Learn more at ncoa.org and @NCOAging.