SNAP Benefits A Lifeline Safety Net Program For Senior Citizens

SNAP ( Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ) is a vital program for millions of senior citizens who would otherwise be at risk for hunger, malnutrition, and possible chronic illness. Statistics show that in 22% of households receiving SNAP, at least one adult is age 60 or older.

SNAP is administered by the Department of Agriculture and offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families.  It is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net.

 

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SNAP: Senior Statistics

Over 80 percent of seniors receiving SNAP benefits are age 60 or older and live alone.  Many are disabled or in poor health.

Average benefits vary widely by location. In 2016, a household with at least one senior received an average benefit of $124 per month. The rates range from $72 in Arkansas to $379 in Guam. The disparity is due to household size.  In addition, because of the high cost of living in Guam, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Virgin Islands, the benefits are higher.

 

SNAP: An Underused Government Program

It’s hard to believe but true; this helpful government program is underused by senior citizens. Actual participation is very low among seniors, with only 42 percent of those eligible, actually enrolled. Possible reasons for this include the confusion over the complex eligibility requirements and the difficult application process. And, in fact, many seniors don’t even know this program exists.

As the number of senior citizens increases over the next 25 years, so too will the number of eligible older adults. Policy makers are studying ways to make the application easier and more known. The safety and security of our senior citizens is an important health policy initiative.

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