Electronic Publications from the Food Assistance & Nutrition Research Program No. (EFAN-02-012) 236 pp

June 2002

Seniors' Views of the Food Stamp Program and Ways To Improve Participation-Focus Group Findings in Washington State: Final Report

This report explores factors that influence Food Stamp Program (FSP) participation among the elderly and identifies ways to improve their participation based on findings from focus groups of senior FSP participants and nonparticipants, community-based organizations, and staff from local food stamp offices. While many seniors felt the FSP provided a valuable benefit, many felt that the benefit levels were too low to make the effort of applying worthwhile. Two important barriers that seniors felt they faced when applying for food stamps were the stigma attached to receiving what they see as welfare and misinformation about food stamp rules. Many seniors also felt the application, eligibility, and certification processes were overly complicated and intrusive. Discussants suggested several options for improving access to the FSP that included simplifying the application process, extending the recertification process, and changing the delivery of food stamp benefits to make them more user-friendly.

Keywords: Food Stamp Program, elderly, barriers, benefits

In this publication...