Governor Signs Beall's Bill to Feed More Seniors in Need

October 06, 2011

A key bill to help California's seniors during these tough times by putting more food on their tables was signed today by the Governor.

"Assembly Bill 69 ensures struggling seniors get the critical nutrition they need to stay healthy and vital," said Assemblymember Jim Beall, who introduced the bill in December.

The bill allows counties to identify needy seniors though the Social Security Administration's benefits database to enroll them for CalFresh benefits, formerly known as Food Stamps. The federal data will be used to pinpoint seniors who are most likely to be eligible for CalFresh.

About 20 percent of California's low-income seniors don't get enough nutritional food to eat. Just 10 percent of eligible seniors are enrolled in the CalFresh program, the California Health Interview survey showed.

These numbers reflect California's low overall participation in the Food Stamp program which has left almost $5 billion in potential federal benefits untouched – cash that could have been used to feed the hungry but and also injected into the state economy. Studies show each dollar spent by the program generates $1.73 throughout the economy.

The signing of the bill was welcomed news for organizations dedicated to feeding the hungry.

"With AB 69, struggling seniors are getting the attention and the resources they deserve," said Kerry Birnbach, Nutrition Policy Advocate for the California Food Policy Advocates. "With this action, Governor Brown and Assemblymember Beall are working to ensure that our growing population of seniors won't have to make tough choices about food when money is tight."

Contact: Rodney Foo (408) 282-8920