SNAP Spotlight on Larry Hanson
Larry Hanson, 59, has been eligible for federal food assistance most of his adult life. The Minot native suffers from epilepsy and relies on SNAP benefits to fill gaps not covered by his disability payments.
“Seizures happen regularly enough that I’m not comfortable driving or working anymore,” he says.
He and his longtime girlfriend, Lynette, moved in to together about 30 years ago, partially to reduce expenses. Together they receive $22 a month in SNAP benefits. While that doesn’t cover their food expenses for the month, it allows them to purchase some meat, milk and bread. They also visit local food pantries.
Other expenses are covered by Social Security disability payments. Larry receives healthcare through Medicaid.
“We make it one way or another, I guess,” he says. “Sometimes it gets tough, but you know what they say: a person needs to keep going.”
Over the years, Larry has washed dishes, washed cars, assisted mechanics and raked lawns for a paycheck. But it has become harder to control seizures. In addition, one of the medications he takes makes his bones more susceptible to breakage. He shattered his hip a couple of years ago and now walks with a cane.
“It’s hard to work with a busted hip,” he says.
He and Lynette take city buses everywhere they need to go. With SNAP benefits they can purchase many of the food items they need at one location instead of having to travel to mutiple food pantries. If the couple received more benefits, it would be even easier, Larry says.
Still, they’ve built a comfortable, if simple, life. A couple of years ago they moved into a new two-bedroom townhouse where rent is based on income. They don’t have cable or other extras, but they have food thanks to SNAP and other local resources.
Larry doesn’t know what the couple would do without food assistance. Maybe go without milk. Or meat. He shrugs.
“When you have nothing, SNAP benefits really do help,” he says.