DHS Launches ARPA Funded Elderly and Disabled Simplified Application Project

 DHS Launches ARPA Funded Elderly and Disabled Simplified Application Project
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CRANSTON, RI – The RI Department of Human Services (DHS) has launched the Elderly and Disabled Simplified Application Project (ESAP), an initiative intended to help ease the application process for older adults and disabled individuals seeking food benefits. With Governor McKee’s strong support for a simplified application and a longer certification period, DHS is pleased to now report all current SNAP households eligible for ESAP were automatically enrolled into the program beginning on February 1, 2023.

The new program, funded by an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant through the USDA Food and Nutrition Service, simplifies the application process for people age 60 and older, or disabled individuals, by allowing the use of a shortened application for SNAP. Additionally, the program extends the eligibility period for SNAP applicants and households that meet ESAP criteria.

“Older adults and those with disabilities in Rhode Island are benefitting from this important initiative,” said Governor McKee. “We’re pleased to be part of the solution to improve access to benefits for those who face unique challenges in their day-to-day lives. It is our hope that beneficiaries will find the simplified application as a sign of our commitment to finding solutions for barriers that may delay access to essential benefits.”

“This is an important new initiative for our older and disabled adults in Rhode Island,” said DHS Acting Director Kimberly Merolla-Brito. “With the support and leadership of Governor McKee and the General Assembly, the funding needed to implement ESAP has been secured, and with it, greater access to benefits which will help reduce food insecurity across the state.”

SNAP applicants and households must meet the following criteria to be eligible for ESAP:

  • All members of the household are age 60 or older, have a disability that is considered permanent regardless of age, or are a combination of both
  • No household members have income from working
  • New applicants over age 60 and/or disabled individuals who applied for SNAP and met the eligibility criteria have had their cases processed under the ESAP designation since January 1, 2023, representing the first applicants to seamlessly benefit from the simplified application process
  • DHS will use existing household information to auto-enroll currently eligible SNAP households.

Once enrolled, participants will benefit from a three-year certification period, instead of two-year; no interview is needed at renewal unless the household’s case will close, the household requests an interview, or DHS requires clarification of information on file. New and reapplying applicants will be able to use a shortened application.

Additional information on the benefits of ESAP, the shortened application (available for download in English, Spanish and Portuguese), and other pertinent can be found online. The shortened paper application will also be available at all regional offices.

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