Brockton, MA (PressExposure) February 05, 2009 -- The federal Food Stamp Program, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), helps low-income individuals and families buy food. According to OCES, there have been several changes to the program in recent months, which makes it easier for seniors in need to receive benefits. The changes are outlined below:
SNAP is the new name for the organization that many seniors know of as USDA's Food Stamp Program.
The application form, which was previously several pages long, is now only one to two pages long.
An elder's medical expenses, which include outpatient hospital expenses, nursing care, doctor's bills and prescriptions are now taken into account as deductions during the application approval process.
Shelter costs (rent, mortgage, taxes and utilities) that add up to more than half of an elder's household income may be deducted.
SNAP does not issue paper food stamps. SNAP benefits are provided via Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), which is a plastic card that is similar to an ATM card that may be swiped at the grocery store.
Because SNAP uses EBT, elders receiving benefits do not have to pick up their benefits. SNAP benefits are automatically loaded onto the EBT card each month on a designated date.
According to SNAP, an elderly person is someone who is age 60 or older. OCES encourages all seniors who have applied for fuel assistance to consider applying for SNAP benefits as well.
Nutritional case managers at OCES are on hand to help seniors complete the application form and navigate the process.
"The food stamp program is a wonderful program that we have advocated for years. We strive to get the word out because a lot of seniors don't understand that they may be eligible for benefits. The SNAP program can really help seniors through hard financial times," explained Diana L. DiGiorgi, Executive Director of OCES.
To learn more about SNAP or to receive application assistance, elders should contact Shawn Smith, Nutrition Director at OCES (508) 584-1561.
OCES offers a number of programs to better serve seniors, families and caregivers residing in Brockton and throughout the surrounding area. The programs include Adult Family Care; Supportive Housing; Family Caregiver Support; Nutrition; Money Management; Protective Services; Home Care and more.
OCES serves elders, their families and caregivers in the towns of Abington, Avon, Bridgewater, Brockton, Carver, Duxbury, East Bridgewater, Easton, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Kingston, Lakeville, Marshfield, Middleboro, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rockland, Stoughton, Wareham, West Bridgewater and Whitman.
The organization's mission is to provide services that support the dignity and independence of elders by helping them maximize their quality of life; live safely and in good health; and, prevent unnecessary or premature institutionalization.