Report: South BX seniors shun food stamps, go hungry

THE BRONX - More senior citizens in the South Bronx are going hungry because they are turning away food stamps, according to a new report released by the AARP.

The report says that many of the elderly living in the South Bronx, which is the highest concentration of low-income seniors in the country, are not used to getting government assistance.

"One of the major problems is the embarrassment that people feel, that it's a handout," says Yvette Martinez, of the AARP.

Assemblyman Jose Rivera has introduced a bill to change that attitude. Under the legislation, the food stamp program would be re-branded as SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

AARP representatives say like Social Security and Medicare, food stamps are another benefit Bronx seniors should have no shame in receiving.

Another bill in the state Senate would no longer require food stamp applicants to be fingerprinted.

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