5 Myths About Seniors and SNAP Debunked

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 dont 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 dont 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.

Related Stories:

How to Eat Well As You Age

Food Stamps Save America from Hunger

Can $1.50 Provide You With a Healthy Meal?

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim V12 months ago

thanks for the article.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe2 years ago

I never heard of SNAP before. It sounds like a great idea to help out.
Thanks for the info.

Mary B.
Mary B3 years ago

For me, SNAP has literaly been a life saver and the entire food stamp program needs to be expanded emmensly. Food is one of those things that is basic to life and health, it should be funded directly from the treasury instead of taxes so those who think they have a right to judge who should get it or not have to just put a sock in it and sit down, It needs to be increased to at least $70, a week for adults and be allowed to cover pet food, laundry products and toilet paper.And keep in mind, the next time you lambast a big corp for getting government susidies, realize SNAP is part of it, but along the way, people can buy food they wouldn't otherwise get.

Vicky P.
Vicky P3 years ago


Danuta Watola
Danuta W3 years ago

Thanks you for sharing!

anne r.
Tom R3 years ago


Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa3 years ago

Thank you

Karen S.
Karen S3 years ago


Alfred Donovan
Past Member 3 years ago

Elderly people are notoriously independent and quite often do not apply for the benefits that they are entitled to.In the mistaken idea that these benefits are charity and not a right.

J C Bro
J C Brou3 years ago

thanks for sharing this critical info with the public