WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) highlighted the stories of her constituents who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program during a House Committee on Agriculture Hearing on nutrition programs in the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill.
In the hearing, Budzinski shared the story of Kathy, a 66-year-old from Decatur who lives on a fixed income of $1,088 a month. Her $98 monthly SNAP benefits help her buy fresh fruits and vegetables that help her manage her diabetes and stay healthy. She also highlighted James, a 66-year-old from Urbana Illinois whose $55 monthly SNAP benefits barely help him to get by and Don, a 56-year-old from East St. Louis who shared that SNAP is “the only way to put food on the table.”
“I will not support any policies that result in food being taken away from Kathy, James, Don and the many other older adults in my district who depend on SNAP to put food on the table for their families,” said Congresswoman Budzinski.
Budzinski’s remarks during the hearing can be found here and below:
Before I get started with my questions, I thought it would be important for my colleagues and the panelists to hear a few stories from my constituents who rely on the support that SNAP provides. And really, I think you’ll hear I’m amplifying what my colleague Congresswoman Takuda really eloquently stated around the importance for seniors and older Americans to have SNAP benefits.
I’m going to highlight a few of my constituents that are older Americans and their stories about the importance of SNAP benefits.
Kathy, a 66-year-old from Decatur, Illinois lives on a fixed income of $1,088 a month. She gets $98 a month from SNAP and pays around $100 on food each month.
As someone living with diabetes, Kathy shared with me that a lot of the high carb foods offered at local food banks send her blood sugar through the roof. She uses her SNAP benefits to buy fresh fruits and vegetables that help her to stay healthy. SNAP benefits, she said, are “a matter of life and death” for her.
James, a 66-year-old from Urbana Illinois shared that the $55 a month he receives in SNAP benefits barely help him to get by. He told my office that “if I didn’t have SNAP, I would starve.”
And Don, a 56-year-old from East St. Louis told us that he doesn’t know what he would do without the $100 he receives each month through SNAP. “It’s the only way to put food on the table,” he said.
These are the stories of my constituents, as I mentioned, who depend on SNAP — each of them over the age of 50 years old.
Nationally, SNAP serves about 5.3 million households with elderly individuals each month. That’s nearly 30 percent of all snap households.
In my home state of Illinois, about 240,000 older adults receive food assistance each month from SNAP.
Far too many of our nation’s seniors struggle with food insecurity each month, and this crisis is even more dire for older adults living with disabilities.
In 2021, older adults with disabilities had food insecurity rates more than 3 times as high as those without disabilities. Even among those who are food insecure, seniors with disabilities are more than 2 times as likely to be food insecure and are 3 times as likely to be very food insecure than seniors without disabilities.
SNAP is a lifeline for seniors and older adults, helping to address food insecurity and improve the quality of life for its participants.
SNAP participation has been linked to lower healthcare costs, including lower Medicaid and Medicare costs. A study of 60,000 low-income seniors recently found that SNAP participants are 23 percent less likely to enter a nursing home and 4 percent less likely to be hospitalized in the year after receiving SNAP than non-participants.
That is why I will not support any policies that result in food being taken away from Kathy, James, Don and the many other older adults in my district who depend on SNAP to put food on the table for their families.
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