The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is committed to supporting policies and programs that reduce nutrition and health disparities and increase nutrition security.
In response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s request for input on “Food Distribution Programs: Improving Access and Parity,” the Academy emphasized the importance of USDA and state agencies sharing information, especially on how to access benefits, in multiple formats, such as posting information at community centers, senior centers, schools and community health centers.
The Academy acknowledges the importance of the USDA Food Distribution Programs to strengthen the nutrition safety net and supports these proposed changes in each of the following programs:
Commodity Supplemental Food Program
- Increase the maximum income eligibility threshold to 185% of the federal poverty level, with a minimum income eligibility threshold of 130% of the federal poverty level.
- Allow for categorical eligibility from participation in federal programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, and Supplemental Security Income to demonstrate eligibility.
- Require local agencies, where applicable, to share written information and referrals to the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program with applicants to increase awareness and access to this and other senior nutrition assistance programs.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program
- Encourage state agencies and eligible recipient agencies to implement or expand distributions of USDA foods in Tribal areas, in addition to the rural areas already listed, when meaningful tribal consultation is utilized to gain input.
- Disallow requiring of address or identification to verify residency to meet needs of people who do not have housing.
- Ensure confidentiality regulations are aligned with ongoing best practices utilized in current electronic intake platforms.
Academy members interested in learning more about this issue are encouraged to join the monthly meetings of the Nutrition Security Advocacy Affinity Group.
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