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Proposed SNAP Cuts Put MA Seniors, People with Disabilities in Crosshairs

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Proposed SNAP food assistance cuts are likely to hit low-income seniors and people with disabilities hardest. (USDA)
Proposed SNAP food assistance cuts are likely to hit low-income seniors and people with disabilities hardest. (USDA)
June 20, 2017

BOSTON – President Donald Trump wants to take a $193 billion slice out of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program over the next 10 years, and local advocates say seniors and Bay Staters with disabilities would be hardest hit by the proposal.

Patricia Baker, a policy analyst at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, has crunched the numbers and says more than 55 percent of the Massachusetts SNAP caseload includes seniors and people with severe disabilities.

"Going after programs that help people stay in their communities and healthy is absolutely the wrong direction the country should be going in,” she states. “We should not be attacking programs that serve low-income elders, low-income people with disabilities."

Trump's budget anticipates an improved economy that will result in fewer individuals in need of food stamps.

Baker is not comforted by that prediction. She notes that more than 750,000 people in the Bay State depend on SNAP food benefits, including 270,000 people with disabilities who are age 60 or younger.

Baker says New England states have been trading places for the oldest state in the nation, and as a result are likely to experience the most severe impacts from the proposal, given the demographics.

"A population that's rapidly aging, and we're worried that health care costs, of lack of access to food, are going to have an incredibly negative impact on their ability to age-in-place in their communities and not end up in hospitals and long-term care,” she states.

Trump also wants to shift a portion of the cost of the food stamp program to the states, starting with 10 percent in 2020.

Baker says once the provision is fully in effect, that would equate to an additional $297 million a year for a state that already is $400 million or more in the red in the current state budget.




Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA