Nutrition Matters – October 2019

— Written By

Many households depend on the monthly food supplement to help expand their grocery budget and purchase healthier foods. N.C. Cooperative Extension of Greene County offers a program called More in My Basket, which provides education about the FNS program. Through More in My Basket, participants learn if they are likely eligible for FNS, how FNS can expand their food budget and receive individualized assistance with completing an application. Households with seniors and/or individuals with disabilities often have higher than average healthcare costs and sometimes face the difficult choice of buying food or medicine, a situation that places these households at greater risk of food insecurity. Seniors (age 60 and older) and individuals with disabilities can claim medical expenses when applying for SNAP. Unreimbursed, out-of-pocket medical expenses over $35 per month can be claimed and there is no cap on the amount of medical expenses that can be claimed. Claiming these expenses can potentially increase the amount of SNAP benefits a household receives each month. Often people are not aware they can claim medical expenses. In 2012, only 13 percent of North Carolina SNAP households with a senior or a person with a disability claimed medical expenses. Examples of medical expenses that can be claimed:

  • Prescription and over the counter medications
  • Insurance premiums, Medicare premiums, Medicaid cost-sharing expenses
  • Dentures, hearing aids, prescription eyeglasses, prosthetics
  • Transportation and lodging costs to obtain medical treatment & services
  • Service animal expenses, including food and veterinarian bills
  • Hospitalization, outpatient care, dental care, nursing care, psychotherapy

The above list is not an exhaustive list of eligible medical expenses. Through More in My Basket,  participants learn if they are likely eligible for FNS, how FNS can expand their food budget, and receive individualized assistance with completing an application including claiming medical deductions.

Contact Shelina Bonner at the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Greene County to learn about upcoming More in My Basket sessions or to schedule a session. Shelina can be reached at (252) 747-5831 or shelina_bonner@ncsu.edu. If you would like to find out if you may be eligible for FNS, contact the More in My Basket Toll -Free Information Line at 1-855-240-1451.