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SNAP Helps Millions of Low-Income Seniors

News & Action Center


SNAP Helps Millions of Low-Income Seniors

May 31, 2017
Dawn Secor

Nearly 67 million people in the United States are age 60 and older, and are eligible for a number of government programs designed to assist with basic life needs.  Despite their eligibility for these benefits, about 6.3 million seniors, or 9 percent of seniors, live below the poverty level. Many live on fixed incomes and have limited financial means to afford expenses such as food, medical, or housing costs.  Many are also disabled or take care of children.  For these seniors, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) plays an important role.  

  • SNAP provides 4.8 million seniors with resources to afford an adequate diet. This represents 11 percent of all SNAP recipients in 2015.
  • Seniors receiving SNAP benefits mostly live alone:  only 1 in 4 live in households with other members.
  • SNAP provided an estimated $6.6 billion to SNAP households with seniors in 2016, two-thirds of which went to households in which seniors lived alone.
  •  In NYS, 631,000 low-income seniors in 549,000 households participated in SNAP.  Their average monthly income was about $940.  NYS provides SNAP to more seniors than any other state in the nation.
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