Latest Issues

Preserve SNAP for People with Disabilities

In the U.S., all too often food insecurity and disability go together. Families that include people with disabilities are two to three times more likely to experience food insecurity than families that have no members with disabilities. Similarly, people experiencing food insecurity have increased likelihood of chronic illness and disability.

SNAP is vitally important for people with disabilities and their families. By increasing access to adequate, nutritious food, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) plays a key role in reducing hunger and helping people with disabilities to maximize their health and participate in their communities.

  • Approximately 11 million children, adults, and seniors with disabilities received SNAP in 2015, or roughly one in four SNAP participants, using an inclusive definition of “disability.” •
  • Roughly 4.4 million households that include non-elderly adults with disabilities received SNAP in 2016, using SNAP’s narrow administrative definition of “disability.”
  • Non-elderly adults with disabilities who receive SNAP have very low incomes, averaging only about $12,000 per year in 2016.
  • SNAP benefits are extremely modest, averaging $187 per month for non-elderly adults with disabilities in 2016 – or just $6 per day.

Congress should reject cuts to SNAP, including proposals to cut off or reduce SNAP benefits, narrow eligibility, or force more people to navigate harsh and unnecessary program rules. Cutting SNAP benefits would only make it harder for people with disabilities and their families to access adequate, nutritious food, to participate in their communities, or to work and increase their economic self-sufficiency.

Cuts to SNAP in the Agriculture and Nutrition Act (H.R. 2) would hurt people with disabilities and their families. As reported by the House Committee on Agriculture on April 18, 2018, H.R. 2 would cut off or reduce SNAP benefits for an estimated 2 million people living in 1 million households over the next 10 years. Many people with disabilities and their families would be hurt by these cuts. Small increases in the proposed bill would be insufficient to make up for significant benefit cuts.

  • New, highly punitive “work requirements” in H.R. 2 would cut off SNAP benefits for many people – including in families with children, adults, and seniors with disabilities. Federal law currently limits SNAP eligibility for adults age 18 to 49 without dependents to just 3 months out of every 3 years – unless they can engage in work or job training activities at least half time or qualify for an exemption. This cuts off food assistance at a time when 2 people need it most and does not result in increased employment and earnings. At least 500,000 low-income people nationwide lost SNAP in 2016 due to this time limit.
  • Many people with disabilities are already hurt by the current SNAP time limits, despite SNAP’s existing exemption for people who receive governmental or private benefits on the basis of a disability or are able to document that they are “physically or mentally unfit for employment” (7 C.F.R. § 273.24(c)(2)). For example, in a study of SNAP participants subject to time limits referred to participate in work activities in Franklin County, Ohio, one-third reported a “physical or mental limitation”.
  • H.R. 2 would require SNAP participants age 18 to 60 to prove each month that they worked or engaged in job training for at least 20 hours a week, or qualified for an exemption. A person would lose SNAP for 12 months the first time she fails to meet this requirement and for an extremely harsh 36 months every time after that.
  • H.R. 2 exempts people who meet SNAP’s disability exemption definition (e.g., receive governmental or private benefits on the basis of a disability or are able to document that they are “physically or mentally unfit for employment”; 7 C.F.R. § 273.24(c)(2)). However, many people with disabilities need or receive SNAP, but do not meet this definition or have not been so identified. Under SNAP, states have no obligation to help people prove they are exempt, even if they have difficulty obtaining the necessary records or verification from a doctor. States also have no obligation to ensure that people with disabilities have access to the full array of services they might need to work – such as accessible transportation, supported employment, and personal care services. People with disabilities often want to work but need additional supports and services to obtain and keep jobs, in addition to facing discrimination and misconceptions about their ability to work.
  • Underfunded work programs would be woefully inadequate to meet training needs. Proposed new investments in SNAP employment and training programs – funded in large part by benefit cuts – amount to only about $30 per person per month. This amount would be grossly insufficient to provide adequate employment services for people subject to proposed new work requirements, including jobseekers with disabilities.
  • New reporting requirements would create major hurdles to benefits. Proposed new reporting requirements related to eligibility, employment and training, and time limits would be extremely difficult for many people with disabilities to comply with and navigate. For example, ending a decades-old simplification measure and instead requiring people to share utility bills with the SNAP office – or else, see their benefits reduced – is harsh, unnecessary, and burdensome both for SNAP participants and states.

Congress should reject cuts to SNAP under H.R. 2, and instead work on a bipartisan basis to strengthen and protect SNAP as part of the Farm Bill.

 

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My Money Program in Florida

Florida Department of Financial Services My Money Program LogoThe Department of Financial Services created the My Money Program to provide educational lessons for individuals with developmental disabilities and important resources for family members and caregivers. The My Money Program allows individuals to learn and practice financial skills at their own pace, using interactive games, activities and educational videos. Lessons focus on money basics, banks and credit unions, accounts, budgeting, government benefit programs and ways to find and keep employment. Parents, guardians and support providers of individuals with developmental disabilities can also access important information on teaching financial skills, government programs and information on the different ways to save and invest money.

The My Money Program not only makes financial education accessible, it also provides comprehensive information and resources to empower every Floridian with the knowledge to work towards financial independence.

It is the goal of this program and the program’s partners to make financial literacy accessible to ALL Floridians.

Ways to Contact the My Money Program

If you have any questions for the Florida Department of Financial Services My Money Program, or would like to start learning today, then you can find them online at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/MyMoney or you can also call them directly at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).

Upcoming Event Opportunity

If you are wanting to learn more about this program, then a great opportunity for you to is quickly approaching this month!

Florida’s CFO, Jimmy Patronis, invites you to join him for “Manage My Money Day” on April 26, 2018 from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM (doors open at 8:30 AM) at:

The Arc Tampa Bay
1501 Belcher Road, Suite 249
Clearwater, FL 33765

This is a free event to help persons with disabilities learn and achieve financial independence.  The event will include:

  • Information about available savings and banking options.
  • Resources and services offered by financial institutions.
  • Options to open a savings account on-site.
  • Information about the Department of Financial Services’ My Money Program.

For more information, please click here to view the event flyer.

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Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day 2018 Was a Hit!

Dick Bradley, Board President for The Arc of Florida.

The 2018 Florida Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day was a success!  There were around 700 people in attendance on Wednesday, February 14, 2018.

The day started with a press conference supporting the “Pay Fair for Care” campaign, that is jointly sponsored by The Arc of Florida, Florida ARF and the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council.

This campaign is an effort to raise awareness of Florida’s Direct Care Professionals need for better and higher pay. They have some of the most important jobs.  Daily, they care for some of Florida’s most vulnerable citizens, but, all over the state, they receive far less pay per hour than many workers at fast food restaurants and big box stores such as Walmart and Target.

Deborah Linton, CEO of The Arc of Florida

These Direct Care Professionals sacrifice so much of themselves caring for the others in their care, and they deserve to be shown appreciation for their hard work and dedication to these most vulnerable citizens of Florida.

One of the big events that took place during the 2018 Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day was the surprise flash mob that was coordinated by The Arc of Florida.  Many of the chapters of The Arc of Florida participated in the flash mob and even convinced others standing around to join in.

Below you can watch the video of the flash mob performing at the end of the press conference.

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