NCOA Leads Effort to Help 5 Million Food Insecure Seniors Buy Healthy Groceries
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NCOA Leads Effort to Help 5 Million Food Insecure Seniors Buy Healthy Groceries


August 27, 2014

Media Contact
Vanessa Sink

Online tool helps seniors connect to SNAP benefits during Hunger Action Month and beyond

Washington, D.C. — Nearly 5 million – or close to one out of every 12 – seniors will experience hunger this year, with even more at risk. 

But there is assistance available. Benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help food insecure seniors pay for nutritious food. 

That’s why during Hunger Action Month in September, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) is leading a nationwide effort to increase SNAP enrollment of eligible seniors. Together with local partners, NCOA is reaching out to older adults who may be eligible for the program. 

According to the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, the number of food insecure seniors has more than doubled since 2001. At the same time, it’s estimated that more than 4 million seniors are eligible for nearly $4.5 billion in SNAP benefits, but they are not enrolled.

There are many myths about why older adults don’t enroll in SNAP, but for some the reason is simply that they don’t know about the program or don’t realize they are eligible. In response to both the growing need and the lack of understanding, NCOA is encouraging seniors and their loved ones to use its online BenefitsCheckUp® tool to connect to SNAP. In one simple, free, and confidential checkup, older adults can see if they are eligible for SNAP and other benefits, then get instructions and forms to apply. 

Since 2001, BenefitsCheckUp® has helped more than one million people find more than $1.1 billion in SNAP benefits.

“Our nation’s seniors should never have to choose between paying for healthy food or affording their medicine,” said Lura Barber, Senior Program Manager of Hunger Initiatives at NCOA. “SNAP helps struggling seniors stay healthy and financially secure, and BenefitsCheckUp® makes it easy for seniors to find out if they’re eligible and apply—often right online.”

During Hunger Action Month, help an older adult find out if they are eligible for SNAP. Visit for more information and to find your state’s application.


About NCOA The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. Our mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. Through innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy, NCOA is partnering with nonprofit organizations, government, and business to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. Learn more at and @NCOAging.

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