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Reps. Troy, Edwards Provide Sponsor Testimony on Bipartisan Legislation to Help Hungry Seniors

April 16, 2024
Daniel P. Troy News

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COLUMBUS – State Reps. Daniel Troy (D-Willowick) and Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) today provided sponsor testimony in the Ohio House Government Oversight Committee on legislation that would require the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services to provide a supplemental benefit allotment to qualifying senior citizen households participating in the federal SNAP program. 

“Since the termination of the public health emergency, more than 70,000 older Ohioan households have seen their monthly benefit reduced to $23 a month after receiving substantially more for the last three years. This legislation would increase that minimum benefit to $50 per month with a state funded supplement,” said Rep. Troy.

“In the budget the House passed last year, we ensured no Ohio children go hungry by providing free school breakfast and lunch,” said Rep. Edwards. “This bill will take this effort a step further by protecting older Ohioans who are living on fixed incomes and struggle to afford nutritious food due to high inflation.”

Eligibility to receive this supplemental benefit allotment must meet the following requirements:

  1. The individual who is 60 years of age or older.
  2. The individual currently receives a monthly supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefit allotment that is less than $50.

“Ohio’s food banks have witnessed years of increased need for help with food amongst older Ohioans. From 2013 to 2023, food pantry visits by Ohioans 60+ increased by 124%, with more than three million visits by older Ohioans in 2023. Older Ohioans represent more than one in five people served by Ohio’s hunger relief network. Need for help for Ohioans of all ages is also at historic highs, with overall visits to food pantries 48% higher than a decade ago. Ohio’s charitable hunger relief system is serving as a safety net to federal safety net programs, especially the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and we can’t sustain a response at this pace without help. By investing in an increased minimum monthly SNAP benefit for older Ohioans, the State of Ohio can provide meaningful relief to seniors living on fixed incomes who are often forced to make difficult choices to afford medication, housing, and food. We applaud the bill sponsors, Representatives Troy and Edwards, for the introduction of this legislation – the bipartisan support for this measure is a shining example of the State of Ohio’s longstanding commitment to preventing and addressing hunger,” stated Executive Director of the Ohio Foodbanks Association Joree Novotny.

The estimated cost of implementing this policy is somewhere between $25 and $30M over the remainder of this biennium and would be subject to review and required reauthorization in the next biennial budget.

“States across the country have taken matters into their own hands to assure SNAP benefit adequacy for older adults by exploring ways to supplement the fully funded federal benefit with state dollars. As Ohio lawmakers, shouldn’t we be doing the same? This is an opportunity to make a legitimate impact in the health and well-being of older Ohioans,” said Rep. Troy.

Rep. Edwards chairs the Ohio House Finance Committee. Rep. Troy also serves on the House Finance Committee and has introduced other bills to improve the lives of older Ohioans, including increasing and expanding the Homestead Exemption (HB 60), designating May as Older Ohioans Month (HB 173), and increasing penalties on elder abuse (HB 419).

The legislation awaits further hearings and a vote in the Ohio House Government Oversight Committee before advancing to the Ohio House floor. The testimony is available to watch here at the 34:53 mark.