Key Takeaways

  • Nationally, about 4.8 million older adults (aged 60+) are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Yet this figure represents less than half of the eligible population.

  • NCOA believes SNAP is the nation’s best program to fight food insecurity.

  • To help older adults complete and submit their SNAP application online, NCOA has developed a SMS texting campaign.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, millions of older adults were experiencing food insecurity. Ten years after the great recession of 2008, the overall food insecurity rate had finally reverted to pre-recession levels, but the food insecurity rate for seniors had not recovered. This means that many older adults entered the pandemic with fairly high level of food insecurity

NCOA believes that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s best program to fight food insecurity and participation in SNAP reduces food insecurity overall by 30%

Nationally, about 4.8 million older adults (aged 60+) are enrolled in SNAP. Yet this figure represents less than half of the eligible population.

Seniors Aren’t Using the SNAP Benefit That’s Available

If you are experiencing food insecurity, SNAP will provide you with a monthly benefit that you can use to purchase food at your local grocery store, farmer’s market, or convenience store. The average monthly benefit for a household with an older adult is $120 a month, according to the most recent year that data are available. SNAP has even been shown to improve the health and well-being of older adults who participate. However, even though SNAP is such a vital program, only about three out of five seniors who qualify use it. Since 2013, NCOA has worked to increase enrollment in SNAP and understand why older adults don’t participate in this valuable program.

How to Get Help Applying for SNAP

NCOA has found the most common reason older adults don’t participate in the program is that the application process for SNAP is too hard. The application process can be complex and burdensome because the application itself is long and many verification documents are required to maximize benefit amounts.

NCOA funds organizations across the country to help older adults complete and submit their SNAP application, but these in-person services are not available everywhere.

Applying and Submitting Your SNAP Application Through Texts

To help older adults complete and submit their SNAP application online, NCOA has developed a SMS texting campaign to follow up with older adults who have screened eligible for SNAP through BenefitsCheckUp.

If you or an older adult you know are interested in applying for SNAP, you can visit BenefitsCheckUp.org to complete a screening and check your eligibility status to receive SNAP benefits.

If you are eligible for SNAP, you can provide a cell phone number to enroll in our SMS texting campaign. Once enrolled in the text message campaign you will receive reminders to complete and submit your SNAP application, and then follow-up messages that remind you to prepare for your interview, helpful tips on how and where to use your EBT card, and links to learn more about other programs NCOA offers.

Learn more about our SMS texting campaign, check your benefits eligibility, and sign up to receive reminders about your SNAP application.