Food Insecurity and Mental Disability: The Successes and Failures of Federal Assistance Programs




Tichenor, Caroline

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Food insecurity, the inability to access sufficient food to meet nutritional needs, affected nearly 17 million households in the United States in 2022. The immensity of this issue has led to a significant dedication of resources into the research of the mechanisms of food insecurity and the development of federal assistance programs aimed at reducing food insecurity. Numerous studies have found a clear association between disability and food insecurity, finding that people with mental disabilities have an increased risk in experiencing food insecurity. However, gaps remain in understanding how this experience impacts those with serious mental illnesses and intellectual disabilities, contributing to the continued disadvantages faced by these populations. Utilizing relevant literature, I first seek to examine the current state of food insecurity in the United States and the efficacy of federal nutrition assistance programs. Then, I investigate the relationship between food insecurity and disability, focusing on households with members with a serious mental illness or mental disability. Finally, I utilize these findings to propose and analyze potential policy solutions to establish better equity and accessibility among federal assistance programs.



Food Insecurity., Mental Disability., Disability Studies., Assistance Programs., SNAP.