Feds move to expand grocery deliveries for low-income seniors

Feds move to expand grocery deliveries for low-income seniors
© Thinkstock

Low-income people with disabilities and seniors who are homebound might be able to use nutrition benefits in the future for grocery shopping and delivery services run by the government and non-profit organizations.

Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackThomas James VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE is slated to announce the proposal Monday at the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, according to the Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The rule would apply to certain people who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

"Home delivery of groceries is an important step forward in serving the needs of these vulnerable populations. Allowing homebound seniors and people with disabilities to use their SNAP benefits through government and non-profit home delivery services will help ensure they have access to healthy foods,” Vilsack said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

While SNAP provides assistance to more than 4 million seniors nationwide, the USDA says only 42 percent of eligible elderly people participate in the program compared to 83 percent for all people who are eligible.

Nearly half of SNAP recipients are children, the USDA said, while 9 percent are over the age of 60 and more than 40 percent live in households with earnings.

The proposal was authorized by the farm bill Congress passed in 2014.

USDA said it will recruit up to 20 food purchasing and delivery service for a one-year pilot program in order to finalize the proposed rule.

report released by the Government Accountability Office last month found millions of seniors lack meals and transportation help from the government.

Only 10 percent of the nearly 17 million older adults in low-income households receive meals from the federal government, the report said, and many more adults over the age of 60 need meal services, but don’t receive them.