Food sufficiency and the utilization of free food resources for working-age Americans with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND: Working-age people with disabilities are an economically disadvantaged population more likely than those without disabilities to live in food insecure households. OBJECTIVE/HYPOTHESIS: Compare rates of food sufficiency and utilization of free food sources between working-age persons with and without disabilities in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: In September 2020, an online survey was conducted with n = 13,277 working-age individuals with and without disabilities to gather information about food sufficiency prior to COVID-19 (i.e., in March 2020) and within the last seven days as well as receipt of free groceries or meals, use of food programs or pantries, and concerns with using free food sources over the past week. Descriptive and multivariate statistics were used to compare these measures for persons with and without disabilities. RESULTS: Controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, the proportion of working-age persons who were food sufficient decreased from March 2020 to September 2020 for persons with disabilities (65%-57%, an eight-percentage point decrease) and for persons without disabilities (78%-73%, a five-percentage point decrease). The rates of change were not significantly different between groups. In September 2020, higher proportions of persons with disabilities (58%) used free food resources in the past week than persons without disabilities (41%). CONCLUSIONS: The low rate of food sufficiency, the high rate of free food resource utilization, and the concerns noted by working-age persons with disabilities in using these sources suggest a need for continuing nutrition assistance policy and program development targeted towards the needs of persons with disabilities.
  • Authors

  • Brucker, Debra
  • Stott, Grace
  • Phillips, Kimberly G
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • October 2021
  • Published In


  • COVID-19
  • Disability
  • Disabled Persons
  • Family Characteristics
  • Food insecurity
  • Food pantry
  • Food sufficiency
  • Humans
  • Pandemic
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United States
  • Working-age persons with disabilities
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 101153
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 4