People on disability need more than $15 per month of food stamps

That’s exactly why I introduced HB 226 and joined Maryland’s leaders in the fight against hunger and leaders in the disabilities community. Here’s my testimony:

Chairwoman McIntosh, Vice Chair Gaines and Members of the House Appropriations Committee:

I come today for your consideration of a new minimum Food Supplement allotment for people with disabilities. — Without this change, many disabled Marylanders, including our veterans, will continue to choose between buying food or the medicine they need to survive —

This bill is an expansion of the 2016 legislation sponsored by former Senator Rich Madaleno and Delegate Brooke Lierman. That bill, which is now law, set a minimum of $30 per month to those 62 years old or older. Today, we aim to include people with disabilities to the $30 minimum.

It may startle you to know that currently the disabled in our state can receive $15 per month in food assistance. The USDA reports that the average monthly grocery bill is around $300 per adult. — We cannot in good faith expect someone to live off of $15 of food per month- especially since the disabled are three times as likely to be food insecure. —

Montgomery County resident Brian Whiting shared with me that $15 does not even cover a week’s worth of his food — and I doubt it would cover any of our grocery bills. — Brian’s diabetic neuropathy has made his computer career a thing of the past and now he is forced to navigate a world with diminishing resources.

The disabled should have parity. Every little bit helps, especially to those who are precluded from working. FSP may not pay for all groceries, but it can help buy basics like bread and milk.

Given these challenges, I believe disabled Marylanders deserve parity in the law and I urge your favorable report.