Sanders: Vermont seniors can now get food assistance more easily

By: Vermont Business Magazine

Beginning October 1, 2020, Vermont seniors applying for 3SquaresVT are able to use a simple application and benefit renewal process as part of the new 3SquaresVT IN A SNAP program. The easy to use application is available to individuals and households age 60 or older and persons with disabilities.

“3SquaresVT IN A SNAP is an improvement to the State’s food assistance program,” says Katy Davis, Community Health Initiatives Director at Hunger Free Vermont. “Traditional applications can be lengthy to complete, and the benefit renewal process often burdensome, leaving many Vermonters’ benefits to lapse. The new program will streamline applications and allow recipients to retain benefits for up to three years without additional paperwork.”  

For too long, a complex application process has prevented older Vermonters from receiving benefits. With hunger on the rise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress made important changes to the SNAP program, known locally as 3SquaresVT , that make it much easier for older Vermonters to access nutritious foods.  In contrast to critical emergency food distribution efforts and invaluable contributions by the charitable food system, SNAP is one of the best, most sustainable food supports Vermonters can feel confident about.

“In the richest country in the history of the world, no one should ever have to worry about going to bed hungry.  Period.  But as so many people are struggling right now to put food on the table, I strongly urge older Vermonters to see if you qualify for 3SquaresVT,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, a long-time champion of nutrition assistance programs. “We are dealing with the worst health crisis and economic crisis in our lifetimes. Today, as 29 million Americans are struggling with hunger and millions of seniors are trying to get by on fixed incomes, I want every Vermonter to know that I am continuing to fight to expand critically important anti-hunger programs, like Meals on Wheels, school nutrition, and SNAP,” Sanders continued.

In addition to alleviating hunger, 3SquaresVT also plays a vital role in stimulating the local economy, generating income for grocery stores and farmers, and supporting many front-line workers through our food network. During the 2009 Recession, for every $1 increase in 3SquaresVT benefits, an estimated $1.70 was generated in economic activity*. The program is federally funded, and individual benefits do not impact benefits for others or diminish support for state-level initiatives such as education, housing, or health care. (*Moody’s Analytics, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)