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

Jul 10, 2012, 11:00 ET from National Council on Aging

WASHINGTON, July 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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.

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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.

About NCOA  
The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for millions of older adults—especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged—and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities. For more information, please visit: www.ncoa.org |www.facebook.com/NCOAging | www.twitter.com/NCOAging

SOURCE National Council on Aging



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