Help Us Increase SNAP Benefits for Older Adults
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is a safety net program designed to assure that low-income individuals and families can still have access to fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, dairy, bread, cereals, healthy snacks, and seeds/plants to produce food for the household to eat. Many people turn to this program in times of crisis or faced with difficult circumstances.
One such demographic is older adults, who qualify for SNAP based on limited income and other similar factors. Texas ranks as the 5th highest state for senior food insecurity, yet only 50% of eligible Texas seniors are enrolled in SNAP. Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) is hopeful for relief being proposed in the 2021 legislative session which would streamline access to nutrition assistance for older Texans. A new SNAP bill would simplify the program’s lengthy application process for Texas households composed exclusively of older adults.
Determining eligibility for SNAP can be complicated because it is a targeted benefit that takes into account household income, assets and expenses. But older adults on fixed incomes have stable financial situations that can make this process easier. The SNAP application process for older adults needs to be simplified, especially during a health crisis where accessing these benefits quickly is so important. Tarrant Area Food Bank is committed to serving foodinsecure older adults in our community.
The following are simple ways to join TAFB and Feeding Texas‘s effort to increase SNAP benefits for older adults.
- Texas ranks as the 5th highest state for senior food insecurity, with 11% of Texas seniors at risk of hunger. This percentage has likely doubled due to the pandemic.
- Food insecure seniors face an increased risk for health conditions like heart attack, asthma, and congestive heart failure.
- 65% of seniors have had to choose between food and medical care.
- Only 50% of eligible Texas seniors are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
- Increasing access to SNAP can decrease the negative effects of food insecurity, allowing seniors to age in place with dignity and good health.
- Increased food security among seniors will also lower State healthcare costs.
- SB 224 / HB 701 will improve access to SNAP for seniors and people with disabilities by:
- Simplifying the initial application
- Waiving the recertification interview
- Extending the certification period from 12 to 36 months, and
- Outreaching those enrolled in Medicaid to let them know of their eligibility to apply for SNAP
Make them listen.
The first step to change is raising your voice. If you’ve never contacted a Representative or Senator before, click here to enter your address or county and learn to whom you should reach out. Once armed with that knowledge, call or email the representatives in your area and let them know how critical the SNAP bill is to organizations like Tarrant Area Food Bank and the older adults in Texas. For more information on the SNAP bill, its impact and its significance, click here for a flyer.
Better yet, we have a pre-written message you can send once you fill in your name and details:
Dear [Name of Legislator/Staff Person],
My name is [Your Name] and I am a constituent in your district. I care deeply about hunger, because I [insert reason here, such as working at a food bank or other anti-hunger organization or your lived experience of hunger].
I am writing to encourage Senator/Representative [Name of Legislator] to support SB 224 / HB 701, which simplifies the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) application and recertification process for Texas seniors and people with disabilities. Prior to COVID-19, Texas had the fifth-highest rate of senior food insecurity in the nation with 11% of seniors at risk for hunger. This percentage has likely doubled due to the pandemic. In addition, Texas also has low rates of senior enrollment in SNAP, due to difficulties navigating the lengthy, online application process. [Insert additional context about seniors in your community.]
I have attached a one-pager that provides additional information about the hunger that Texas seniors face and their challenges accessing nutrition assistance. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions.
SB 224 / HB 701 is critical to addressing senior hunger. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Tell your friends.
These days, you’d be hard pressed to know anyone who doesn’t have social media. Taking to the the Internet to tell your friends and family about the SNAP bill will show solidarity with your neighbors who rely on or qualify for SNAP benefits. Simply start by sharing this article, or borrow a message from us:
- Seniors across Texas are struggling to have enough to eat. Tell the #TXLegislature to support SB 224 / HB 701 which will help seniors get connected to #SNAP. Find who represents you here: texastribune.org/directory/#state
- Texas has the 5th highest rate of senior food insecurity. Help seniors get the nutrition assistance they need by asking your legislator to pass SB 224 & HB 701. Find who represents you here: texastribune.org/directory/#state
Tarrant Area Food Bank will monitor the grant cut closely. To follow our efforts and to see how TAFB continues to serve the community during the pandemic, follow us on all of our social accounts.