AARP Kentucky Comments on House Bill 367 - Food Security for Older Kentuckians

Posted on 03/06/24 by Scott Wegenast

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 6, 2024) Today, AARP Kentucky expressed serious concerns for proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in House Bill 367. AARP strongly believes no one in this country should have to go hungry. Access to an adequate, nutritious diet is foundational to maintaining health, dignity, quality of life, and independence as people age.
FOR_IMMEDIATE_RELEASE_House_Bill_367-AARP Kentucky_Statement_KYGA_2024.pdf

Specifically, AARP Kentucky urges the Senate to oppose the provision in HB367 to end broad-based categorical eligibility (BBCE). The BBCE can help individuals, families, and older adults on fixed incomes access to vital food assistance while allowing them to build or preserve modest savings for emergencies, like unexpected medical bills. One AARP study (AARP/Mathematica) found that BBCE is associated with higher participation among adults ages 60 and older, and the policy simplifies SNAP administration. Restricting BBCE could disproportionately harm older adults and increase administrative burdens.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation’s most effective nutrition assistance program, is a lifeline to millions of older adults at risk for food insecurity, providing a very modest benefit to purchase food. Research shows that SNAP participation among older adults is associated with fewer hospital and emergency room visits, as well as lower hospital and long-term care admissions. In short, SNAP is a smart investment that can help lead to reduced overall health care costs. SNAP is especially important for those older Americans who have a harder time gaining and retaining employment.

AARP opposes policies making it harder for food insecure seniors to access the benefits for which they are eligible. It is important to recognize the employment challenges and barriers older Kentuckians face, even in good economic times. While most individuals receiving SNAP benefits are already working, older Kentuckians who fall out of the labor force face significant barriers to gaining employment and take longer to find employment compared to younger age groups. Older workers continue to remain long-term unemployed at a much higher rate than younger workers.

“The Bottom Line: making it harder for older adults to get the nutrition they need only adds to the challenges the state faces in ensuring a healthy and productive workforce,” Troy J. Broussard AARP Kentucky state director. "The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a proven and vital resource for older adults to restore their food security."

AARP Kentucky strongly urges members of Senate Economic Development Economic Development, Tourism, & Labor committee vote “No” on HB367 or amend the bill so it does not eliminate BBCE.

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About AARP
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. AARP Kentucky educates and advocates on behalf of those 50 and older on issues that are important to them, their families and to all Bluegrass State residents. The organization works to strengthen communities with a focus on health security, financial stability, and personal fulfillment. To learn more, visit aarp.org/ky and follow @AARPKY online.

This story is provided by AARP Kentucky. Visit the AARP Kentucky page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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