NCOA Empowers Older Adults to Access Nearly $100 Million for Healthy Food

Press Contact:

Vanessa Sink
Public Affairs Manager
571.527.3914
vanessa.sink@ncoa.org

Arlington, VA – The rising cost of food is a daily source of stress for millions of older adults who live on fixed incomes. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is leading a national movement to get more eligible seniors enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help them pay for this basic necessity.

Nationally, adults aged 65+ have an average annual income of $46,627, and they spend more than $5,500—or nearly 12%—on food. Their friends just 10 years younger have a greater average income of about $75,000 annually, and they only spend about 9% on groceries.

“Food, on average, is the second highest household expenditure for people aged 65+, behind only housing costs,” said Lura Barber, Director of Hunger Initiatives at NCOA. “It’s also an expense where seniors feel they can make tradeoffs. Often, they will choose less expensive processed foods over fresh vegetables and meats to stretch their food budget. This can become a threat to their health as they age. That’s where SNAP can help.”

SNAP provides financial support to eligible seniors, so they can purchase healthy food and free up their budget to cover other expenses. More than 5 million seniors are eligible for the program, but the vast majority either don’t realize it or don’t apply for the benefit.

NCOA, with support from the Walmart Foundation, is leading a national movement to empower eligible seniors with information and assistance to access SNAP. Working with grant-funded community-based organizations, seniors can get one-on-one support with the SNAP process. Since launching this effort two years ago:

  • More than 917,015 older adults have accessed their SNAP application online through NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp® free benefits screening tool
  • Nearly 400,000 people have been screened for SNAP eligibility by local partners
  • More than 68,000 older adults have completed applications, resulting in an estimated $94 million in SNAP benefits

With continued funding from the Walmart Foundation, NCOA recently added 15 new local partners to this project, bringing the total number of communities to 31. Click here to see a full list of SNAP initiative grantees.

Seniors can find out right now if they are eligible for SNAP by visiting NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp® and answering a set of anonymous and confidential questions. To find their state’s SNAP application, older adults also can visit BenefitsCheckUp.org/getSNAP.

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 ncoa.org and @NCOAging.

About NCOA’s Senior Hunger Initiative

NCOA’s Senior Hunger Initiative works to combat senior hunger by enrolling eligible older adults into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The initiative combines technical assistance to local community organizations with online help and advocacy to make it easier for eligible older adults to access SNAP to pay for healthy food. Learn more at ncoa.org/SeniorHunger.