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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 4.8 million low-income adults aged 60+ rely on an average SNAP benefit of $128 per month to buy nutritious food.

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 is up for renewal in 2018, and proposals from the Administration and the House Agriculture Committee would make the process of obtaining and keeping SNAP benefits more complicated for older adults and other food insecure households.  On May 18, the House bill failed to pass on the floor, but a re-vote on June 21 resulted in narrow passage of the bill. Review the vote to see which members to thank for voting against SNAP cuts and which to educate about seniors’ need for food assistance.

The bipartisan bill approved by the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry Committee on June 13 contains proposals that protect SNAP, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and other resources for seniors and their families. The bill was passed by the Senate with a strong bipartisan vote on June 28. Review the vote to learn which members to thank for supporting the bipartisan bill to protect and strengthen food assistance for seniors and their families.

The House and Senate will now try to negotiate a compromise bill, but they are far apart on several nutrition and farm policies. It is unclear whether they’ll make the October 1 deadline to renew the legislation. Stay tuned for updates and ways to take action.

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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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