SNAP Matters for People with Disabilities

Poverty, hunger, and food insecurity disproportionately affect Americans who have communicative, mental, or physical disabilities. For these children, adults, and seniors, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serves as a vital support.

Access to affordable, nutritious food often is even more critical for Americans with disabilities than for others. Not only are people with disabilities more likely to experience poverty and food insecurity, but they also are more likely to suffer from chronic conditions that can be aggravated by poor nutrition. These conditions can exacerbate existing disabilities or even lead to new disabilities. Good nutrition is a key component of good health for all Americans, but for those who have a disability, eating nutritiously, even during periods of economic difficulty, is critically important.

According to USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), food insecurity impacts one-third of households with a working-age adult who is out of the labor force due to disability, and one-quarter of households with a working-age adult with a disability who has remained in the workforce. SNAP Matters for People with Disabilities

A recent report from the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) provides information on:
1. The population of Americans with disabilities, including factors that lead to increased poverty and food insecurity among them;
2. SNAP’s role among programs targeted to assist people with disabilities;
3. SNAP program rules and policies that make it both accessible and responsive to the needs of Americans with disabilities; and
4. Recommendations for strengthening SNAP’s support for people with disabilities through state policy options, agency practices, and outreach.

FRAC, the leading national nonprofit organization working to improve public policies to eradicate hunger and undernutrition in the United States concluded: Americans with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity. Because of this, they are also more likely than Americans without disabilities to participate in SNAP. SNAP serves as a vital component of the safety net for this population, providing essential benefits for people struggling with food insecurity because benefits offered by other disability related program are not adequate. A number of special rules and policies make the SNAP program both accessible and responsive to the needs of Americans with disabilities. For more information about FRAC go to: www.frac.org.