Stabenow Amendment Would Expand Successful Program, Helping More Seniors
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced that her bipartisan amendment to improve accessibility of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) for low-income seniors will be included in the Senate Farm Bill. The CSFP provides food assistance to low-income seniors, mothers, infants and children through over 140 projects in 32 states, including Michigan. Last year 80,000 Michigan families and seniors benefited from this important program.
"Too many Michigan seniors are forced to choose between food and medicine," said Stabenow. "This legislation is critical for seniors struggling to deal with the skyrocketing costs of health care."
Under current USDA regulations, women and children can still receive benefits when their income is at 185 percent of the federal poverty level, or $25,326 a year for a woman with one child. However seniors, who often have both high prescription drug costs and a fixed income, have not been able to receive benefits if their income topped 130 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $13,570 a year.
The Stabenow amendment will expand CSFP into five new states. Seniors who make up to $18,888, or 185% of the federal poverty level, annually, would then be able to receive a CSFP package of food or other assistance. The program currently serves approximately 462,545 people each month; 90 percent of those participants are seniors.
Senator Stabenow has led the bipartisan effort to improve and strengthen CSFP. Her amendment is based on the Stabenow-Domenici Senior Nutrition Act, which has been endorsed by senior advocates AARP, America's Second Harvest, the National CSFP Association, the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs, and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
This amendment is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Pete Domenici (R-NM), Carl Levin (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tim Johnson (D-SD), and Arlen Specter (R-PA).