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Georgia CAFE

Georgia CAFE is a UGA-Community-Government Collaborative Project that trains community advocates and supports policy changes that help low-income older and disabled Georgians access food through assistance in obtaining benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps).

About

The Georgia CAFE project led by Dr. Jung Sun Lee in the Department of Foods and Nutrition at the University Georgia is the first-ever SNAP application assistance model in Georgia to enhance access and participation in SNAP for low-income older Georgians. 

History

Georgia CAFE was originally developed and pilot-tested in the Athens area in 2010 based on collaborations among UGA Department of Foods and Nutrition (Dr. Jung Sun Lee, Dr. Mary Ann Johnson, Temitope Walker, PhD student, Lauren Badger, former MS student), Georgia Legal Services Program (Nancy Lindbloom), state and local GA DFCS, and GA DAS and Aging Services Network. 

Team

  • Jung Sun Lee, PhD, RD, Associate Professor and Faculty of Gerontology, Department of Foods and Nutrition, University of Georgia
  • Nancy Lindbloom, JD, Specialist Attorney, Public Benefits, Georgia Legal Services Program (GLSP)
  • Temitope Walker, MA, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Foods and Nutrition, University of Georgia
  • Lauren Badger, MS, RD, Anti-hunger Program Associate, D.C., Hunger Solutions, Food Research and Action Center (Former MS student in the Department of Foods and Nutrition, University of Georgia)
  • Mary Ann Johnson, PhD, Professor and Faculty of Gerontology, Department of Foods and Nutrition, Interim Director, Institute of Gerontology, University of Georgia
  • Grace Bagwell Adams, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, University of Georgia
  • Vibha Bhargava, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Financial Planning, Housing and Consumer Economics, University of Georgia

Partners

GA DHS

  • Lucy Smith, Field Operation Director of OFI, Division of Family and Children Services, Georgia Department of Human Services
  • Gwenyth Johnson and Allison Bernal, Division of Aging Services, Georgia Department of Human Services

Community Partners

  • Northeast Georgia Area Agency on Aging
  • Heart of Georgia Altamaha Area Agency on Aging
  • Athens Community Council on Aging
  • Campus Kitchen at UGA
  • Athens Housing Authority
  • Food Bank of Northeast Georgia

Advisory Board Members

  • Paul J. Brooks, Pharm.D, Associate Vice President for Public Service & Outreach, University of Georgia
  • Trina von Waldner, Pharm.D, Director, Continuing Education and Outreach, Division of Nontraditional Education and Outreach, University of Georgia, College of Pharmacy
  • Eve Anthony,Chief Operating Officer, Athens Community Council on Aging

For Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities

What is SNAP?

SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  SNAP gives monthly benefits to eligible families with lower incomes so that they are able to purchase quality, healthy food.

Renew Your SNAP Benefits Online or Find Out Who Can Help You in Your Area

How can SNAP Help You?

SNAP helps to improve nutritional status, promote healthy aging, and may help prevent or manage chronic disease.

You Can Use Your Medical Expenses to Apply

SNAP allows households to deduct unreimbursed medical expenses over $35 per month from their income in calculating their net income for SNAP purposes to more realistically reflect the income they have available to purchase food. This, in turn, could potentially qualify them for higher SNAP benefits. See our brochure to see what medical expenses are included.

See How You Can Use Your Medical Expenses

Senior SNAP

Senior SNAP is a simplified application project designed to make it easier for seniors to receive food stamp benefits.  Senior SNAP requires that all persons applying for benefits through them must be 60 years of age or older and purchase and prepare their food together, must not be working,  and must be on a permanent fixed income such as social security, SSI, private, state or federal retirement, VA, railroad retirement. If this applies to you, you can apply through Senior SNAP!

See How You Can Apply Through Senior SNAP 

Want to Apply but Don’t Qualify for Senior SNAP?

For those who do not qualify for Senior SNAP, the regular SNAP application can be used.  Remember you are still eligible to use your medical expenses to apply. 

See How You Can Apply For SNAP Benefits

Are You under 60 but are an Individual with a Disability?

You receive supplemental security income disability benefits or qualify as disabled based on your Veterans compensation you qualify for the medical expense deduction. 

For Community Advocates

Training

We train and help community advocates to aid older Georgians age 60 and older and the disabled* in signing up receiving, and using their food stamp benefits.  We can provide help in the process of applying for or renewing SNAP benefits through a paper application, online, or Senior SNAP.  As a Georgia CAFE advocate, you receive a tailored training, access to staff for advocacy support, and up-to-date training application and materials.  *We have not provided a training yet specifically addressing the varied needs of the disabled but recognize that the same considerations in applying for benefits apply to both the groups we serve. We welcome any inquiries on developing one.

Summary of the Georgia CAFE Training Module

Topics at Georgia CAFE Trainings

  • Ways to Apply for Food Stamp (SNAP) Benefits
  • Determining the Best Way to Apply for Food Stamps
  • Understanding the Food Stamp Household Definition
  • Understanding Key Food Stamp Deductions
  • Determining Financial Eligibility
  • Calculating Potential Food Stamp Benefit Amounts
  • Using Food Stamp Benefits - EBT Card Activation, Usage, and Replacement

See our new training series (coming soon)

Applicants and Current SNAP Recipients Can Use Your Medical Expenses

SNAP allows households to deduct unreimbursed medical expenses over $35 per month from their income in calculating their net income for SNAP purposes to more realistically reflect the income they have available to purchase food. This, in turn, could potentially qualify them for higher SNAP benefits. See our brochure to see what medical expenses are included.

See How You Can Use Your Medical Expenses

What do Applicants Need to Know?

See For Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities to learn more about the many ways current SNAP recipients and those interested in applying for benefits can access forms and applications for SNAP and renewal of SNAP benefits.

Want to Know More or Have a Comment to Share?

Feel free to email us with your questions, suggestions, or comments.  Let us know if your organization is interested in serving as a community advocate or want to know more about how we do our work.

For SNAP Policy Advocates

The Importance of SNAP Policy Advocacy

SNAP participation has been historically lower among older adults than in other age groups with approximately 35% of eligible older adults participate in the program, compared to 67% of all eligible individuals.  Common barriers that have been identified include a complicated application process, confusion about eligibility and benefits, and limited access to and use of technology. Furthermore, only 14% of eligible older adults and the disabled claim the medical expense deduction. There are many ways to study and better understand to help improve the participation of this vulnerable population through SNAP policy research and advocacy.

New Georgia SNAP Policy: Standard Medical Expense Deduction (SMED)

SNAP Policy Resources

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