June 30, 2022

July 2022 marks the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) signing, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life. The ADA’s protections have contributed to greater equity for people with disabilities  but much more is needed to achieve disability economic justice.

A paper released this spring by The Century Foundation, FRAC, and other founding members  of the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative (DEJC) points to disparate rates of food insufficiency among people with disabilities and explains the importance of strengthening the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as part of a comprehensive strategy to promote disability economic justice.

SNAP is an important support for many people with disabilities. One in five SNAP households has a non-elderly adult with a disability. Yet, as DEJC reported,“gaps in SNAP access and adequacy undercut SNAP’s positive impacts, and too many disabled individuals and households struggling to put food on the table are left underserved. Moreover, SNAP households with people with disabilities are among those facing a ‘hunger cliff’ when temporary COVID-19 improvements to SNAP benefit adequacy and access end.”

DEJC’s SNAP policy recommendations include:

  • The Closing the Meal Gap Act to improve SNAP benefits by replacing the Thrifty Food Plan with the Low Cost Food Plan as the basis for calculating SNAP benefits, increasing the minimum SNAP benefit, and improving the SNAP Standard Medical Deduction.
  • Abolishing the three-month time limit on SNAP benefits that, under regular rules, affects certain unemployed and underemployed adults and will be implemented again after the COVID-19 health emergency ends. A Data for Progress survey of voters conducted for DEJC found that “[62] percent of disabled voters support extending the pause on this policy after the pandemic ends, and 57 percent of voters overall—including 69 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of Independents, and 44 percent of Republicans—support doing so.”
  • Broadening the ways SNAP participants can use their SNAP benefits, including by allowing them to purchase hot prepared foods, having greater access to online SNAP purchasing, and improving the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program that is for people who have disabilities, are elderly, and/or are homeless.

On July 26, the day that ADA was signed in 1990, and throughout the month, raise your voice on social media to praise ADA and call for DEJC recommendations for disability economic justice.

Join FRAC this ADA anniversary month in urging support for disability economic justice, including through the SNAP priorities DEJC has identified. Pending legislative vehicles would improve SNAP benefit adequacy and access (H.R. 4077/S. 2192), end SNAP time limits (H.R. 1753), and allow hot prepared food purchases with SNAP benefits (H.R. 6338). Read about FRAC’s strengthen SNAP agenda and growing support for SNAP improvements.