Press launch from AZ Food Banks:
May 7, 2021
Arizona had greater than 100,000 older adults taking part within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, previously meals stamps) in March, which is 12 % larger than earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic. SNAP is the nation’s best and cost-effective vitamin program; it helps low-income people and households buy groceries. Based on information launched by DES on April 30, complete participation in SNAP can be nonetheless considerably larger (16 %) than earlier than the pandemic.
Older Americans are extra weak to monetary hardship because of the pandemic’s financial toll. With mounted incomes, recurring healthcare prices, and the rising value of necessities like meals, a rising variety of older adults are discovering it troublesome to each eat and pay their payments.
Even earlier than the pandemic, about 12 % of older Arizonans confronted meals insecurity, which is way larger than the nationwide common of 9.5 %. The downside is even larger at present. Despite the file numbers of older adults who participated in SNAP final month, greater than 60 % of older adults in Arizona who’re eligible for SNAP advantages usually are not enrolled. Outreach workers and older adults themselves level to the prolonged 31-page software and complex re-enrollment guidelines as vital boundaries to participation.
“Cumbersome enrollment processes are stopping a few of the most weak members of our group from accessing vitamin for his or her tables. SNAP is a lifeline for seniors dwelling on mounted incomes,” mentioned Arizona Food Bank Network (AzFBN) President and CEO Angie Rodgers. “We are working with the Department of Economic Security to get a waiver to simplify the appliance and recertification course of and assist extra seniors.”
“Seniors are much more remoted than earlier than COVID,” mentioned Jessie Mendivil, Benefits Coordinator at AZCEND within the East Valley, which has packages together with a meals financial institution and a senior heart. “Many do not apply for SNAP as a result of the method is simply too sophisticated, the appliance is simply too lengthy, the quantity they will obtain is simply too low. We ought to be capable of do extra for them.”
AzFBN is presently working with DES on a waiver request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to simplify the enrollment course of and enhance entry to wholesome meals for older
Arizonans. The Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP) provides states extra flexibility to extend participation in SNAP by older adults.
“An ESAP waiver would assist extra seniors who’re combating meals insecurity and reduce administrative burdens and prices as extra seniors enroll,” famous Rodgers.
This press launch was produced by AZ Food Banks. The views expressed listed here are the writer’s personal.