SNAP Benefits for Seniors: 7 Key Food Assistance Program Facts

How to apply for and maximize SNAP benefits for seniors to help them buy healthy and nutritious food

SNAP keeps seniors healthy and reduces medical costs

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition assistance to eligible low-income individuals and families.

The program is especially important in helping low-income older adults afford nutritious food so they can stay as healthy as possible.

With financial assistance, seniors won’t be forced to make dangerous trade-offs like skipping meals or skipping medication.

In an article from the National Council on Aging (NCOA), they share key facts about SNAP benefits for seniors and explain how to find out if your older adult is eligible and how to apply.

We highlight the essential points from their 7 tips to help seniors take full advantage of SNAP benefits.


7 key facts about SNAP benefits for seniors

1. Few seniors participate in SNAP
Only 2 out of 5 eligible adults over age 60 are enrolled in SNAP.

That means 3 out of 5 seniors who qualify are missing out on benefits.


2. The average SNAP benefit for seniors is $105/month
A common myth about SNAP is that it only gives $16 worth of benefits per month.

Don’t assume that’s all your older adult could get.

Yes, $16 is the minimum monthly benefit. But 80% of senior SNAP participants receive more than the minimum.

The latest numbers show that the average monthly benefit for an older adult living alone was $105 per month. That’s a significant savings in food costs.

On top of that, many seniors are able to increase their monthly SNAP benefit by taking advantage of deductions for other expenses.

Check the SNAP Frequently Asked Questions page to find out the amount of assets and resources allowed for qualification and what deductions are allowed.


3. Many seniors who qualify for the excess medical expense deduction don’t use it
Currently only 16% of older adults use the medical expense deduction. But many more SNAP-eligible seniors could qualify.

If your older adult spends more than $35 a month on out-of-pocket medical costs, they might be able to deduct that from their gross income when applying for SNAP.

That would increase their monthly benefit amount. Learn how this deduction works in the NCOA fact sheet.


4. Many senior SNAP participants experience isolation
About 80% of older adults who get SNAP benefits live alone.

More than half have little to no income and live on general assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or other benefits.

For these seniors, getting an average of $1,272 in SNAP benefits can mean the difference between having food and going hungry.


5. SNAP helps the local economy
When SNAP benefits are spent at local stores, it brings money into the community – research found that every $1 in additional SNAP benefits generates $1.79 in local economic activity.

Plus, additional $1 billion in SNAP benefits would generate 8,900 full-time jobs.

So your older adult would actually be helping their city by participating in SNAP – a win-win situation.

6. Access to SNAP can reduce health care costs
When older adults are in debt, they have to make trade-offs that are likely to damage their health.

That could mean resorting to skipping meals or reducing medication doses.

A recent study of low-income Maryland seniors found that SNAP participants are 23% less likely to enter a nursing home and 4% less likely to be hospitalized in the year after receiving SNAP.

Participating in SNAP was also linked to lower overall health care expenses and Medicaid/Medicare costs.


7. All the information needed to apply for SNAP can be found in one place
Use the SNAP state directory of resources to find each state’s SNAP program.

Choosing a state on the map takes you to that state’s SNAP website, application forms, and more.

44 states currently allow people to apply online, so there are also links to the online applications. And in some areas, applications are available in multiple languages.


Next Step  Find your state’s SNAP program website or see the full article at NCOA


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By DailyCaring Editorial Team


This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money.


  • Reply October 22, 2021

    Regina Fraker

    I need help to fill out an application for seniors snap program

  • Reply August 19, 2021

    Becky H McDougald

    Every person I’ve talked to that is retired gets $16. I had a job and I made has much working has I draw in SSA. I worked and got 174. in ebt, I retired and got $16.

  • Reply January 4, 2021

    Kay Teeter

    I’m 77 and live on $xxxx per month SSI only. I have a mortgage payment on a condo and pay $xxx also HOA fee to live here. If I didn’t pay it they would put a lein on it and I could lose it. Why isn’t that HOA fee a deduction in my SNAP application?

  • Reply September 19, 2020

    Bonnie loader

    I get 16$ a month for years I’m 68 years old. Pay for everything ?????very confused

  • Reply August 22, 2020

    edward wood

    Hi i am a bit confused is the info you give for over 80 in the UK i am 83 and had no help or food delivered or is there a number i can call THANKS

    • Reply August 30, 2020


      SNAP is a U.S. program, so this info wouldn’t apply in the UK.

      DailyCaring is a U.S.-based website, so we aren’t familiar with programs in other countries. We hope you can find some helpful food programs in your area.

    • Reply September 1, 2021


      Same here in Georgia. 16.00 a month and my income is less than the poverty level. When you call the just tell me that is all seniors receive.

  • Reply May 3, 2020


    Whoever wrote this is a joke. How does $106 a month pay for sufficent groceries in today’s world. What does $3.41 a day buy..not even 1 small meal ! Do you live on $106. Per month ?

    • Reply May 3, 2020


      While the money from these programs may not be enough to completely cover food expenses, every little bit helps. Getting some extra money is always better than getting none.

      • Reply July 10, 2020

        Sharon Saunders

        The $16 is no myth because that’s exactly how much I get. What can a person get for $16/month.

        • Reply July 10, 2020


          $16 is definitely not enough to get the food you need. We’re so sorry to hear that SNAP hasn’t been more helpful.

          Perhaps you could qualify for some different benefits programs that would provide more assistance. We’ve got more info on how to find and apply here — Find Financial Help for Seniors: 2,500+ Federal, State, and Private Benefits Programs

          • August 11, 2021


            These programs the government keeps talking about. All they are really good for is to get your hopes up, then they turn you away for some dumb reason. Like I’m sorry you make $2.00 over the limit.
            They don’t help they hurt. I must say I appreciate what few extra Stamps I do get. As pandemic stamps they have helped this old woman.

          • September 15, 2021

            Henry Youens

            Can a senior get cash on his ebt card

          • September 15, 2021


            We’re not affiliated with these programs so it’s best to check with your program office to find out if this is possible.

  • Reply October 22, 2019

    Ronda S.

    I was given a packet to fill out, then I had a “telephone appt” and was told all that I filled out to help me apply and get more benefits didn’t count. I could NOT use any of my medical towards my CalFresh/Snap benefits. Then I got a $16.00 card that I was NOT able to use and they put in the wrong information in my account & sent the wrong card. Who can I complain to? Why can’t I use my medical as a deduction? Or any of the other stuff they had me fill out?

    • Reply October 22, 2019


      We’re so sorry about the situation. Government programs can be complicated and confusing. To find someone who could help, we’d suggest contacting your local Area Agency on Aging to see if they can connect you with an organization that has expertise in this area. More info here — Area Agency on Aging: Resources for Seniors

  • Reply October 3, 2019

    Rosemarie Marrone

    I get $16. And am raising a grandchild. They tell me how much my bills are and they are not nearly what they say.

    • Reply October 8, 2019


      It can sometimes be challenging to maximize benefits from the program. Perhaps the tips from MLBano’s comment (below) will help. They said they went from getting $18/month to $190/month by correcting errors in their application.

      • Reply March 31, 2020

        Patricia Petrarca

        They said I would get $16. but never sent card

        • Reply April 9, 2020


          That’s disappointing! You may want to give them a call to see why your card hasn’t arrived yet.

          • December 9, 2020

            Kathy Curtsinger

            I gt nothing say to much left over i h. Meds rent doctors service dog plus med equipment i apsi hv 1 kidney and i ues mpre air says nope just gt denied again hell my scan was was 95 copay cant gt duscounts like some they need chg rules for the time plus 71 and disabled hv all delivered

          • December 10, 2020


            You might qualify for additional benefits programs that would provide more assistance.

            We’ve got more info on how to find and apply here — Find Financial Help for Seniors: 2,500+ Federal, State, and Private Benefits Programs

      • Reply July 2, 2020

        Debora Rodriguez

        I receive $16 a month in food assistance. I am medically retired and therefore live on fixed income. My monthly income is $1303. I have to pay rent, elec, phone, utilities, medications and other Bill’s. How am I suppose to live on that?

  • Reply August 6, 2019

    Jeanne Bobbitt

    This program is of no use. I applied last year & received only $16/mo. That only buys quart of milk dozen of eggs maybe bag of potatoes. I can’t get fresh veg or fruit. Where’s nutrition

    • Reply August 6, 2019

      It can sometimes be challenging to maximize benefits from the program. Perhaps the tips from MLBano’s comment (below) will help. They said they went from getting $18/month to $190/month by correcting errors in their application.

  • Reply July 5, 2019


    Hi Tom I used to get $18 a month, for several years. I figured I was doing something “wrong” with my application as I was sick, on multiple meds and had absolutely no help from Anywhere – no agency help – nothing when it came down to filling out the paperwork. It turned out I was making errors in my expendatures such as Electric Bill,, Telephone bill, Taxes and House rent and simple things like mandatory Aspirin (monthly deduction) Vitamins like C and D which are not covered by ANY “Health Plan” and Transportation to and from the Doctors and Hospitals for testings (keep those uber/taxi receipts or if you drive yourself every drop of gasoline and mileage are deductable not to mention your car payment/inurance USE IT! as an expense) At the end of the “day” meaning a year later, I added these things together and now receive $190 a month! Please dont give up, depending on your regular income, and proper guidance I hoping you can receive what you are really entitled too, just please dont leave ANYTHING OUT and remember NO ONE will help you. Please check on the Forum Boards for these “tips” America the Free will NOT help We the People, we must help each other. Good Luck. There is No Help for US if we already speak english and live here it is a “given” if you are American you are born wealthy and healthy. lol/

  • Reply February 22, 2019

    tom molinaro

    I’m 70 just got snap benefits $24.00 a month, yeah, I’m in good hands now,,,

    • Reply May 5, 2020

      Michele Jarosz

      I’m 77 and they gave me $16 a month. Luckily the covid thing gives me another $179 for 2 months

      • Reply May 5, 2020


        It’s wonderful that you’re able to get some additional funds to support you during this tough time.

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