Electronic Publications from the Food Assistance & Nutrition Research Program No. (EFAN-04-009) 39 pp

June 2004

Food Stamp Program-Elderly Nutrition Demonstrations: Interim Report on Elderly Participation Patterns

To raise participation in the Food Stamp Program (FSP) by low-income, elderly individuals, USDA implemented the Elderly Nutrition Demonstration in six States (Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Michigan, and North Carolina) in 2002. Each of the demonstrations is organized around one of three strategies to increase participation: simplifying the eligibility requirements for elderly individuals that apply for food stamps, directly assisting them with completing the application process, or offering them the option of receiving packages of commodities each month instead of getting benefits through an electronic benefits transfer card. Preliminary analysis indicates that FSP participation by the elderly rose substantially after the demonstrations started. In Arizona, Florida, Maine, and North Carolina, participation grew significantly more in demonstration counties than in nondemonstration counties. In Connecticut and Michigan, the more modest growth rates in the demonstration counties were similar to the rates in the rest of the State. The analysis also provides some evidence that the demonstrations attract elderly individuals eligible for relatively low FSP benefits, particularly in Maine and North Carolina, where a large number of individuals eligible for a $10 benefit are applying.

Keywords: Food Stamp Program, FSP, food assistance programs, Elderly Nutrition Demonstrations, elderly food stamp recipients, Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program, FANRP

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