Do you know an older adult who is struggling to afford healthy food?
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) can help.
Today, one in seven seniors in the U.S. faces hunger. Yet three out of five seniors who qualify for SNAP are missing out on the benefit.
Why? Myths about this program abound. Here are 5 myths busted:
Myth #1: SNAP is only for families with children.
SNAP is for everyone who qualifies, including seniors. A healthy diet helps people of all ages. For seniors, access to nutritious, healthy food helps them better manage their chronic conditions, improves resistance to illness, and reduces the weakness and frailty that sometimes leads to falls.
Myth #2: Other people need SNAP more than I do; I don‘t want to take away food from a hungry child.
Everyone who is eligible for SNAP and enrolls in the program will get help. A senior who gets SNAP does not take away money or food from a household with children.
Myth #3: SNAP is not worth applying for because I will only get $15 a month.
$15 is the minimum monthly amount that a senior can receive through SNAP. Roughly 80 percent of seniors get more than that. In fact, the average senior living alone who qualifies for SNAP receives $119 each month to help pay for food. Also, people with SNAP are allowed to let their money accrue, so a small amount can add up over several months. Finally, seniors can deduct excess medical expenses from their income, which often helps them qualify for more money each month.
Myth #4: I don‘t want everyone to see me using SNAP in a grocery store.
Unlike past Food Stamps, SNAP comes loaded onto an EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card. You use the EBT card exactly like you would a credit or debit card, so most people will not know the difference. And with over 250,000 grocery stores and farmers markets accepting SNAP across the country, you have a broad choice in where to use it.
Myth #5: Applying for SNAP is too difficult.
Depending on where you live, you can apply online, by mail or in person and get one-on-one help if you need it. The National Council on Aging has made it easy. Visit www.BenefitsCheckUp.org/getSNAP to download your state’s application and find contact information for help.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock
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