Arlington, VA, July 25, 2019 – The following is a statement by James Firman, President and CEO of the National Council on Aging (NCOA), regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed rule, dated July 16, 2019, to revise categorical eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP):
“For the past seven decades, NCOA has worked to create a just and caring society where all Americans can age with dignity and financial security. We are extremely concerned by the USDA’s newly published proposal to limit eligibility for SNAP benefits, which by the agency’s own admission will lead to food insecurity for millions of vulnerable Americans.
According to the USDA, approximately 13.2 percent of all SNAP households with elderly members will lose benefits under the proposed rule. An estimated 4.7 million older adults receive SNAP benefits, which means that a minimum of 620,000 older individuals will lose critical benefits that help them afford nutritious food. These vulnerable aging Americans will be forced to choose between protecting their meager savings in case of a health emergency or keeping food on their tables.
We believe this proposal does not reflect the principles of a just and caring America. In fact, it was rejected by Congress when it was debated as part of the recent Farm bill.
NCOA urges the USDA to immediately rescind this proposal. NCOA plans to advocate against the proposed rule and will submit comments to that effect.
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.