July 30, 2015

Proposed Federal Rule Aims to Make SNAP Benefits More Accessible for Seniors, Individuals With Disabilities

The federal agriculture (USDA) secretary recently announced a proposed rule to allow seniors and individuals with disabilities to use their SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) benefits to pay for governmental and nonprofit grocery delivery services. The proposed rule is intended to help serve those individuals who are eligible for SNAP but, due to limited mobility, have difficulty using the benefits to purchase groceries.

As described in the proposal, the grocery delivery services purchase food for, and deliver it to, a head of household who is unable to shop for food and is (1) age 60 or older, or (2) has mental or physical disability. According to the USDA press release, “nationally, only 42% of eligible elderly individuals participate in SNAP, compared to 83% for all people who are eligible.”

The USDA intends to initially test out the program as a one year pilot program. According to the release, “lessons learned during the pilot will [be] used to help shape the final rule.”

Click here to read the press release and here to read the proposed rule.