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Meals on Wheel Eligibility Guidelines

By providing nourishing meals in a social setting, Age Well’s Community Meal Program has a positive impact on the nutritional status of participants while creating varied social and volunteer opportunities appropriate to the talents and resources of participants and their community. This program is funded by the Older Americans Act and must adhere to the following eligibility guidelines.

A person is eligible for Age Well’s Community Senior Meal Program if they are:

  • 60 years of age or older, or the spouse of a senior regardless of age.
  • Under 60 person with a disability and is living in a housing facilities where Age Well offers Senior Community Meals.
  • Under 60 person with a disability who resides with or/and is in the care of a senior who is attending the meal.
  • A non-senior volunteer performing essential duties for the operation of the meal program. However, volunteers should always be encouraged to make a private anonymous donation toward the cost of the meal.

All of the above eligible participants must be given an opportunity to make a private anonymous donation toward the cost of the meal.

All others (staff and guests) must pay the full cost and be charged for their meal, or in the case of staff, the full cost may be paid for by the meal service provider as part of the employee’s benefits. Neither staff nor guests may participate if it deprives a senior participant of the meal. The typical guest charge is $1.00 more than the seniors’ suggested donation.

By providing nutritious meals, Age Well’s Meals on Wheels Program helps support recipients to live active lives in their communities for as long as possible. Participants are encouraged to attend Congregate Meals and “get out” with or without assistance, as often as their circumstances permit. It is in the interests of both the recipient and the program to encourage and support participation in community life.

A person over 60 years of age is eligible for a home-delivered meal if they:

  • Experience “food insecurity,” as described by the Urban Institute (1993 NASUA): An individual experiences food insecurity when he or she worries about getting enough to eat – when the home does not always have adequate food, when the individual cannot always afford to buy enough food, and/or cannot always get to markets and food programs, or cannot prepare and gain access to the food available in the household.
  • OR are eligible for the program due to a temporary or permanent incapacity, or hospital discharge, as noted on Age Well’s Meals on Wheels intake Form (January 1994).

Also eligible:

  • The spouse of an eligible participant, regardless of age, if according to criteria determined by the AAA, receipt of the meal is in the best interest of the eligible participant.
  • A person under 60 years of age, with a disability, if they reside in senior housing where congregate meals are provided.
  • A person under 60 years of age, with a disability, who resides with, or in the care of an individual receiving Meals on Wheels.
  • A person under 60 years of age with a disability who is referred by the Vermont Center for Independent Living under funds for that purpose.
  • A volunteer of any age, according to criteria set by the Area Agency on Aging, who performs duties for the operation of the meal program, may be eligible.
  • All of the above eligible participants must be given an opportunity to make a private anonymous donation toward the cost of the meal.

Other people must pay the full, unsubsidized cost of the meal. Note that those under age 60, who want the meal and are not eligible according to the above criteria, MAY, according to criteria set AAA, receive the meal if they or someone pays the full cost. This practice can be on a one-on-one or ongoing basis, as long as receiving the meal will not deprive an individual who is categorically eligible to participate in the program.

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