Todd Donohue says his health is worsening due to his inability to buy nutritious food. He has Crohn’s disease and survives on bread, macaroni and cheese, and heads of lettuce. He knows that a more nutritious diet might help him control his symptoms.
Donohue says that his health issues are exacerbated by his inability to afford nutritious food. He frequently ends up in the hospital with Crohn’s disease flare-ups. Sometimes, this is due to him eating something he wasn’t supposed to eat.
Donohue and over 25,000 other Manitobans have had their disability benefits increase by $25 per month. Donohue’s income increased from $1,095 to $1,120 per month. Donohue says that people like him often have to choose between buying groceries and paying rent and utilities.
Ashley Preece has been receiving disability benefits for the past seven years. She began receiving benefits after being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Preece, a wheelchair user, receives Meals on Wheels at a reduced rate, but she can only afford them four days a week.
During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the grocery delivery service she relied on for extra meals became more expensive, forcing her to cut back on food.
Globally, people with disabilities are dealing with food insecurity. Chip Riley of Adams Center, NY receives disability benefits. He also relies on SNAP benefits to buy groceries. Riley doesn’t think his SNAP benefits are enough. Riley is diabetic, so he can only eat certain foods. Riley can eat chicken and pork. According to the July 2022 Consumer Price Index, the cost of chicken has risen by about 17% from 2021.
In the United Kingdom, more than 62% of working-age people referred to food banks in early 2020 were disabled. This is three times higher than the rate of non-disabled people. 78% of households with disabled members who utilized food banks in early 2020 weren’t receiving disability benefits, according to The Trussell Trust. The process of getting disability benefits can be a lengthy one. In the United States, around 65% of all disability claims filed with the Social Security Administration are refused on the first application.
Nobody should go hungry. Nutritious food should be easy to access and afford. People shouldn’t be forced to eat certain foods because they are cheaper. A balanced diet can help manage health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, which can affect those with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Proper nutrition is essential for everybody, especially disabled people.
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Hageman, Megan. “Demand for Chicken Is Skyrocketing despite Inflation.” Eat This Not That, Galvanized Media, 6 Sept. 2022, https://www.eatthis.com/chicken-demand-increasing-despite-inflation-september-2022/.
Straub, Brendan. “Inflation Taking a Toll on People Living on Assistance, Fixed Incomes.” WWNY-TV, Gray Television, 13 Apr. 2022, https://www.wwnytv.com/2022/04/13/inflation-taking-toll-people-living-assistance-fixed-incomes/.
Trudeau, Joyce. “Does Social Security Disability Deny Everyone the First Time They Apply?” Disability Secrets, Nolo, 21 Jan. 2022, https://www.disabilitysecrets.com/does-social-security-deny-you-the-first-time-you-apply-for-disability.html.
Weekes, Thomas. “The State of Hunger: It’s Not Right That Disabled People Are Being Forced to Turn to Food Banks.” The Trussell Trust, The Trussell Trust, 29 June 2021, https://www.trusselltrust.org/2021/06/28/the-state-of-hunger-its-not-right-that-disabled-people-are-being-forced-to-turn-to-food-banks/.