Boosting SNAP Participation Among Older Adults to Reduce Food Insecurity
- Eligible nonparticipants ages 50 and older were more likely than those under 50 to be missing out on potentially substantial SNAP benefits.
- SNAP access rates among older adults are low but vary widely by state.
- Eligible older adults ages 60 and older had especially low levels of SNAP participation.
- Older-adult SNAP access rates are lower among two-person households.
- Older-adult SNAP access rates are low among people with the lowest incomes.
- Many older households receiving SSI also receive SNAP.
In 2020, nearly 9.5 million adults ages 50 and older were food-insecure. Five million of them were 60 or older. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s largest antihunger program and provides financial assistance to many low-income and food-insecure individuals and families to help buy the food they need. Yet eligible older adults have historically had much lower participation in SNAP than those in other age groups, even as nutrition has an important role in healthy aging and SNAP enrollment among older adults is associated with fewer hospital and emergency room visits and long-term care admissions. This series of three AARP Public Policy Institute and Mathematica Spotlight reports analyze SNAP participation among older adults and the policies that affect it.