Chatham County Social Services wants older residents on Medicaid to know that they may receive an unexpected letters and phone calls from a nonprofit, Benefits Data Trust, encouraging them to apply for Food and Nutrition Benefits (FNS). The program also has been known as SNAP.
“It may seem suspicious because the contact will come from Benefits Data Trust rather than the state or the county,” said Jennie Kristiansen, director of Chatham County Social Services. “However, it is safe to respond to contacts from this group, which the state is using to reach out to Medicaid recipients. The goal is to urge more of them to enroll in FNS.”
A letter to Chatham County Medicaid recipients will be mailed on October 18, 2017, with follow up phone calls in late October.
Sara Welch, the county’s administrator for economic services, said, “Research conducted by Benefits Data Trust indicated that only half of eligible seniors were receiving these food benefits. This is tragic because additional research shows that seniors enrolled in FNS are associated with a 14% reduction in hospitalizations and a 23% reduction in nursing home admissions.”
Nikia Bland, who supervises the FNS program in Chatham County, reports that older residents may be reluctant to apply for benefits because they are uncomfortable asking for assistance. “I hope that more will reconsider applying, because FNS can help them afford healthier food options that will help them lead healthier, longer lives.”
For those who are interested in applying for FNS, applications are accepted at the Chatham County Department of Social Services at (919) 542-2759 or through the state’s website: www.epass.nc.gov.