2-1-1 In the News
WBBJ-TV ABC Channel 7 (Memphis, Tennessee)
Senior SNAP Program
By: Alisha Searl
That's why they're making $8 million in grants available to states just to promote the program and Tennessee is considering applying for some of the money.
The supplemental nutrition assistance program or SNAP is the new name for food stamps. According to the USDA, only 32-percent of eligible senior citizens actually use SNAP. It's that number state agencies say, they want to change.
Times are a bit tight for Richard Nelson, especially when it comes to buying groceries. Richard says, "That runs into a whole lotta money."
$400 he adds, and that's not including medical or housing expenses. So the thought of getting money each month for food, from SNAP, sounds pretty good. Richard says, "It would help a lot."
That story is all too familiar to Beth Bates, a program coordinator for SNAP. She says elderly people are just not taking advantage of the food assistance program.
Bates adds, "This is the greatest generation. They won WWII and delt with the Cold War. They're strong. I think they see our SNAP benefits as a stigma to accept these benefits."
Other seniors, she says, just don't know $16 to $200 worth of benefits, a month, are available for food. Even if you are drawing social security or disability, like Richard, you can still qualify for assistance.
Bates says, "Don't assume you will only receive 16 dollars in benefits. High medical expenses, high housing expenses, dependent care expenses, and work deductions may and likely will increase the amount of SNAP benefits you will receive."
You can call 211 for a prescreening or go to the Department of Human Services in your community to apply. The DHS office then has 30 days to accept or deny your request. Also, you can contact West Tennessee Legal Services at 731-423-0616.
And now that Richard know that, he says, his cart could be a little fuller come May.
Anyone can apply for SNAP, you don't have to be a senior citizen. However, DHS is targeting that age group because the participation is so low.
Also, if you qualify for benefits, you could also get help with your phone bill.
On the Web: http://www.wbbj.com/NewsStories/100422SeniorSNAPProgram.html