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January 11, 2011

SHARE How Seniors Can Help Oregon's Economy

Last month, Northwest Portland Ministries and Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon held an information and training session called "Seniors and SNAP Resource Training." As an attendee, I learned interesting things about SNAP, Oregon's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. First, I learned that "Food Stamps" have gone "bye-bye." Oregon does not use that term any longer, so let's forget about those and any images they may connote. In fact, the name change happened a year ago and "stamps" have not been used since 1998.

More interestingly - and I never thought of it this way - but this successful program is beneficial to our state economy because everyone who uses SNAP spends these federal dollars locally - and it's a lot of dollars!

Many seniors have paid federal taxes all their lives and so there's no reason why they should not get some of that back. The average benefit is $16 per month. It's like getting a coupon every month to spend on food. Also, if the amount is not used on one month, it roles over and can be used in the following months.

"Households may have $2,000 in countable resources, such as a bank account, or $3000 in countable resources if at least one person is age 60 or older, or is disabled. However, certain resources are NOT counted, such as a home and lot, the resources of people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the resources of people who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, formerly AFDC), and most retirement (pension) plans. "

ouseholds can use SNAP benefits to buy foods for the household to eat, such as: breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, meats, fish and poultry, dairy products as well as seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat. And there is no shortage of locations in Northwest Portland to shop. (Find stores here.)

Help spread the word and let's get seniors to bring this money into the Oregon economy!

Steve S

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