Today, AARP expressed support for protecting funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as the Senate prepares to consider reauthorization of the Farm Bill. “While AARP recognizes the economic challenges facing our nation and that burdens must be shouldered by broad segments of society, we do not believe it’s appropriate to reduce already inadequate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits - $4.30 per person per day - to households experiencing food insecurity," said Joyce Rogers, AARP Senior Vice President, Government Affairs.
“It is troubling that SNAP is expected to bear billions of dollars in so-called ‘savings’ at the expense of fewer resources for hungry seniors and other families to purchase food. Cuts in SNAP funding would result in fewer food dollars for hungry households, especially seniors who are prioritized to participate in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) where some of these cost savings would occur. Already, many seniors eligible for SNAP benefits are not receiving them – approximately 65 percent of struggling people age 60 and older.
In Iowa, AARP is working with the Iowa Food Bank Association to help the more than two-thirds of Iowa seniors who are eligible for assistance learn about the benefits. “You hear all kinds of reasons for why people don’t sign up,” said Kent Sovern, Iowa’s state director for AARP. “And most of them are based on outdated information or simply are not true. It’s heartbreaking.” “No one should have to choose between medicine and food or between dinner on the table or heat in the house,” said Sovern, noting that some 159,000 Iowa seniors often have to make those choices.
Rogers said, “AARP will continue to oppose proposals that aim to generate cost savings at the expense of needy families having even less food on the table. Most Americans would agree; polls published recently continue to find that large majorities of respondents favor maintaining or increasing SNAP funding, while only 32 percent favored reductions. AARP encourages Congress not to reduce already inadequate SNAP benefits to generate savings that only increase food insecurity and hunger among those who are the most vulnerable and needy.”