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Need Help Affording Food?

A woman in the supermarket produce isle

If you’re on a fixed income and see costs keep going up, or if you’re struggling to make ends meet on a tight budget, you are not alone. In 2018, nearly 10 million adults over 50 struggled to afford food, and the pandemic has only made matters worse. AARP Foundation can connect you with resources and assistance to help you put food on the table for yourself and your family.

Assistance is available for adults of all ages and their families through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, which provides participants with a credit card-like card (EBT card) for making subsidized purchases at grocery stores and some farmers markets. AARP Foundation can help you apply for SNAP assistance and also help you maximize the benefit you receive. Last year we helped nearly 34,000 older adults apply for SNAP to make it easier to afford food.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP provides participants with benefits loaded monthly onto a debit-like card to help pay for groceries. There are 8.7 million households with adults age 50 and older participating in the program, though many more are eligible. SNAP may go by a different name in your state.

The truth about SNAP. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about SNAP, who it’s for, and how it works. Here’s information you can rely on.

  • SNAP is not just for families with children. Any adult, of any age, who meets the income requirements is eligible.
  • Your participation in SNAP does not deny the benefit to anyone else.
  • Your EBT card looks just like a debit or credit card. No one can tell you’re using an EBT card.
  • Not all older adults receive the minimum benefit. In fact, nearly a third of older SNAP households receive the maximum benefit. On average, SNAP households with at least one adult age 50 or older received $144 per month in 2018.
  • Adults over 60 or any adults with a disability have different income requirements and additional allowable deductions, so you may be eligible now even if you weren’t before.

To find out if you are eligible for SNAP, please visit the USDA SNAP Eligibility Requirements website.

What Is Food Security?

Food security isn’t just about having enough food to eat. It’s about having enough good, nutritious food to sustain you and keep you healthy.

Some 10 million people over 50 are classified as having low or very low food security. Assistance programs such as SNAP are designed to address the problem of food insecurity throughout the U.S. population.

Strategies to Support Food Insecure Older Adults

AARP Foundation and the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) hosted a webinar to discuss strategies that can ease the food versus medicine dilemma for older SNAP households, including the medical expense deduction. Presenters reviewed strategies for streamlining state excess medical deduction policies and effective outreach to help SNAP participants who are older adults or have a disability get the correct amount of SNAP benefits.

Want to Help?


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Help us provide assistance to more people struggling with food insecurity