Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, introduced two bills to address food insecurity among older adults and adults with disabilities. An estimated 5.5 million Americans over the age of 60 face food insecurity, while adults with disabilities are twice as likely to be food insecure than adults without disabilities. Nutritious food is vital to ensuring health and independence for both older adults and people with disabilities, yet both groups face significant challenges with food access.
“Millions of older Americans and Americans with disabilities cannot access nutritious food,” said Chairman Casey. “These bills are important steps toward tearing down the barriers our seniors and adults with disabilities face and making sure they get the food they need to live long, healthy, and independent lives.”
The Senior Nutrition Task Force Act, introduced with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), will create a federal interagency task force led by the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will identify ways to combat food insecurity among older adults and adults with disabilities. The task force will include the perspectives of both older adults and people with disabilities and will be required to produce a report on recommendations to foster coordination across federal nutrition programs.
The Tools for Ensuring Access to Meals (TEAM) Act will establish a new nationwide pilot program to innovatively address hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition among older adults and adults with disabilities. The program will provide $5 million in funding for the Administration for Community Living’s Research, Demonstration, and Evaluation Center for the Aging Network to award non-profits, local aging and disability service providers, and government entities grants to pilot innovative models that promote access and participation in federal nutrition programs.