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Nearly 9 million older adults are at risk for hunger. Federal nutrition services for the most vulnerable Americans still aren’t getting needed investments. Help us protect these programs!

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

How it helps

Approximately 5 million low-income adults aged 60+ rely on SNAP. On average, households with elderly individuals receive $125 per month to help put food on the table.

What’s at stake

Only 2 out of 5 of seniors eligible for SNAP are enrolled in the program. Some seniors may not know about SNAP or how to enroll, or they may think that the application process is too difficult. It is important that outreach to underserved populations continues, and that barriers to applying for help are addressed. NCOA is working with state and local organizations to reach more eligible seniors to help them sign up and improve access by bringing about systems change.

The Farm Bill was renewed in 2018, and provisions that would make the process of obtaining and keeping SNAP benefits more complicated for older adults and other food insecure households. The final legislation protected SNAP, and enhanced the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).

However, as the bill was signed into law, the Administration indicated it would pursue regulatory activity to limit SNAP access. The latest is a proposed rule to essentially eliminate what is known as Broad-Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE). This policy encourages low-income Americans to pursue work and savings without threatening their much-needed food assistance.

According to the USDA, eliminating the less stringent income rules and asset tests used by the 40 states utilizing BBC would result in approximately 3 million individuals losing SNAP, including 13.2 percent of all SNAP households with elderly members (at least 620,000 seniors).

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Older Americans Act (OAA) Nutrition Programs

How they help

OAA congregate and home-delivered nutrition programs provided over 222 million meals to older adults in FY15. This service is especially critical for the nearly 61% of home-delivered meal recipients and 49% of congregate meal recipients who report that the meals represent half or more of their food intake for the day.

What’s at stake

Funding for OAA nutrition programs has not kept pace with need or inflation. Cuts due to the federal budget sequester also led to fewer meals, waiting lists, and program closures across the country. Appropriators have provided increases of various sizes over the past five years, with most significant one of nearly $60 million coming in FY18. Associations focused on the OAA nutrition programs are requesting a $100 million increase for FY19.

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Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)

How it helps

CSFP provides nutritious food to low-income Americans at less than half the average retail value. Approximately 630,000 seniors were served each month in 2017, with incomes of less than 130% of poverty.

What’s at stake

The CSFP is being transitioned to a seniors-only program. Funding now maintains caseloads in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and three Tribal Organizations.

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