Your Guide to CSFP

The federal government understands that not all Americans can afford to buy groceries. Many food support programs exist to support individuals with food aid to solve this common concern. One of the programs provided is the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). This article will explain how CSFP works and how it may benefit you.

Information About the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)

CSFP helps low-income seniors who are at least 60 years old with nutritional support. The target of this program is to provide qualifying people with healthy foods from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA provides the participating states and certain Indian Tribal Organizations with both food and money to run the program. CSFP is run at the federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency of the USDA. The Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act of 1973 authorized the CSFP.

Benefits of CSFP

Even though the food that CSFP provides will not be enough to satisfy a person’s entire diet, it is still a beneficial support opportunity. The reason that it’s still beneficial is that CSFP supplements nutritious foods for those that are eligible. The number of people who participate in the program on average is about 676,000 participants per month throughout the year.

Here is a list of food you can find in the CSFP food packages:

  • Different types of milk
  • Juice
  • Grains and dry beans
  • Peanut butter and ready-to-eat cereal
  • Poultry and canned meat
  • Canned fruits and vegetables

Where You Can Find CSFP

Luckily, CSFP is available in all 50 states of America, in addition to other places such as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs). However, only these ITOs are approved to be participating in CSFP:

  • Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians (CA)
  • Oglala Sioux (SD)
  • Seminole Nation (OK)
  • Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe (ND)
  • Red Lake (MN)

Depending on certain service areas, states may institute local residency rules. However, states can’t have a minimum duration of residency. Applicants must also be at nutritional risk, on top of other requirements. A doctor or a member of the local agency’s staff can determine whether someone is at nutritional risk. Contact your local CSFP state agency if you want to find out more about the program or start the application process.

Other Options for Food Assistance Programs

There are other food aid programs other than CSFP that might help those who are struggling. These programs are:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP)

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

This is a support opportunity that allows those in need (who qualify) to receive assistance purchasing groceries. People who qualify for SNAP may get benefits in the form of an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card. Each month, these cards are loaded with money that can be used at stores that accept the EBT card as payment, to purchase qualifying items. The amount that individuals are entitled to receive will depend on details in their application, such as family size and average income. The maximum benefits of this program between October 1, 2023, to September 30, 2024, are:

  • $291 for a one-person household
  • $535 for a two-person household
  • $766 for a three-person household
  • $973 for a four-person household
  • $1,155 for a five-person household
  • $1,386 for a six-person household
  • $1,532 for a seven-person household
  • $1,751 for a eight-person household, with $219 for each extra person

These maximum values only apply to households in the 48 neighboring states and the District of Columbia. For households located in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, there are different maximums.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

In the same way that CSFP concentrates on certain groups, so does WIC. This program can help qualifying households. This means those who deal with nutritional issues. These people include individuals who are:

  • Pregnant (during the pregnancy and up to 6 weeks after the baby is born or the pregnancy ends)
  • Breastfeeding for the baby’s first year
  • Not breastfeeding for up to 6 months following the birth of the baby or the end of the pregnancy
  • Babies up until the age of one and children up until the age of five

Benefits for those who qualify include access to more healthy food, nutrition support at WIC clinics, healthcare referrals, healthcare screenings, welfare services, social services, and more. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is in charge of providing this program at the federal level, however, it is run by 89 WIC state agencies with around 47,000 authorized stores. You should contact your state or local agency to schedule an appointment if you want to find out more about how to take advantage of this program.

Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP)

D-SNAP offers food assistance to eligible households struggling with food loss or damage that are related to a natural disaster. For the program to run, a state must wait until the president makes a declaration of Individual Assistance. Once the state receives this declaration, it must ask the FNS for approval to operate the program.

Qualifying recipients will get an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card after the state approves. The general requirements are in line with the program’s focus on helping people who are struggling due to a disaster. If a person is dealing with any of the following disaster-related expenses, they may be eligible:

  • Business and home repairs
  • Temporary shelter costs
  • Evacuation and moving costs
  • Personal injury costs
  • Funeral costs
  • Loss of or decrease in income because of a disaster during a good length of the benefit period

Keep an eye out for information from your state agency if you wish to apply or find out more. You may discover more about how to apply, what requirements are needed, and other information from your state agency.

To Sum up

There are several options available when it comes to opportunities for food assistance. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is one option. Senior citizens who qualify for this program and are low-income may benefit from added nutritional support. Other than this option, other programs to think about include:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP)

You may need food assistance at any point in the future. It’s best to stay up to date with available programs that help!