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Millions of Adults Ages 50 and Older Rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—the former food stamp program—is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program. The program provides financial resources to millions of low-income Americans to help purchase the food they need, including 8.7 million low-income households with adults ages 50 and older. The program is especially important in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic, in which heightened unemployment and rising food prices have made it harder for many people to afford food. 

This fact sheet describes selected characteristics of SNAP households that include adults ages 50 and older and the minimum and maximum benefits that these households receive. National and state-level data is available in the appendices.

Key takeaways include:

  • Almost half of SNAP households have an older adult. 
  • Most older SNAP enrollees live alone.  
  • One fifth of older SNAP households include an older person with a disability. 
  • Nearly one third of older SNAP households receive the maximum benefit. 
  • One in six older SNAP households receive the minimum benefit. 

Suggested Citation

Dean, Olivia, Lynda Flowers, and Carlos Figueiredo. Millions of Adults Ages 50 and Older Rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  Washington, DC: AARP Public Policy Institute. July 2020.

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