SNAP for Seniors: How Rhode Island Is Making Strides Against Food Insecurity Among Elderly

Senior woman takes her granddaughter grocery shopping. stock photo
AMR Image / iStock.com

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee — joined by Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi and other elected leaders and advocates — recently passed legislative and budget initiatives to support seniors. The move comes in acknowledgement that many seniors face food insecurity issues, whether retired or otherwise.

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“Whether it’s tax relief, housing, food security, or utilities, our Administration is looking at these issues through the lens of ensuring our seniors are able to not just live in the Ocean State, but that they are also able to thrive here,” said McKee during his #RIMomentum Tour at the Pilgrim Senior Center in Warwick, Rhode Island.

The governor signed acts H7068 and S2317 to make it easier for Rhode Island senior citizens to apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or SNAP.

SNAP is a federal program administered at the state level that provides monthly benefits to supplement the food budget of low-income households.

Rep. Kathleen A. Fogarty (D-Dist. 35, South Kingstown) explained that those over the age of 60 are especially vulnerable to food insecurity — and that the new legislation simplifies the SNAP application process by reducing the length of the application, increasing the recertification period from two to three years and waiving the requirement of interviews for recertification.

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Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) added that many seniors even avoid the application process because it’s too burdensome and time-consuming. “We have an aging population that’s really suffering nutritionally and we should do everything we can to make the benefits more accessible to them,” said Sen. Sosnowski.

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Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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