SNAP & Seniors
Nearly 200,000 older New Yorkers may be eligible for but not receiving SNAP benefits.
Food insecurity among seniors has increased 38% since 2001. By 2050, an estimated 8 million seniors will struggle to put food on the table. SNAP helps older adults stay healthy by improving their nutrition and food security, which can lead to better medication adherence, reduced hospital and nursing home admissions, and lower overall healthcare costs.
The SNAP & Seniors Professional Network helps you connect seniors to SNAP.
We offer service providers tools to help low-income older adults apply for and maintain SNAP benefits. The Network is a one-stop shop for SNAP policy, best practices, outreach materials, and resources to increase provider knowledge about SNAP benefits.
We are committed to maximizing SNAP access through empowerment and information sharing among providers and organizations.
Any organization that serves the senior population is welcome: home delivered meal providers, senior service providers, local and state government offices, community-based organizations, immigration and cultural centers, medical providers, home health agencies, and many more. Sign up today!
SNAP & Seniors Facts
Age that someone can apply for SNAP as a senior
seniors in NYS relied on SNAP to put food on their tables in 2019.
Eligible NYS seniors who are not receiving SNAP benefits. (estimated, 2018)
of senior households face food insecurity in NYS. (2019)
Seniors get expanded SNAP eligibility with a gross income limit of 200% of the federal poverty level.
SNAP Rules for Seniors
SNAP has special rules (see below) for seniors that expand eligibility, simplify the application process, and increase the benefit amount. Visit our SNAP Prescreening Guide for more information about SNAP eligibility.
Households with seniors and/or people with disabilities with a gross income under 200% of the federal poverty limit do not need to meet resource limits or pass the net income test because they are categorically eligible. Those with income over 200% of the federal poverty limit may still be eligible for SNAP but only if their resources are below the resource limit and they pass the net income test.
If a person lives with others and is both elderly and disabled, they may be able to establish separate household status for SNAP purposes if the income of their “housemates” does not exceed 165% of the federal poverty limit.
Seniors who qualify for SNAP may be entitled to a larger monthly benefit by deducting out-of-pocket medical expenses over $35. By reporting these expenses in the SNAP application process, seniors can get even more help paying for food each month. See our SNAP Medical Deduction Worksheet.
Households comprised of all seniors and/or adults with disabilities and no earned income are granted telephone interviews automatically.
SNAP applicants can appoint an “authorized representative” who can apply on their behalf, attend the interview, and the use the EBT card to make purchases, if approved. This option is available to all SNAP applicants, but it is most useful to the elderly and people with disabilities.
The Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is designed to provide low-income seniors with access to locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs. Learn more here: fns.usda.gov/sfmnp/senior-farmers-market-nutrition-program
How to Apply for SNAP
New Simplified SNAP-Only Application for Seniors and People with Disabilities
NYS recently introduced this simplified application as part of a larger effort, known as the Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP), to simplify the SNAP application/recertification process for these vulnerable populations. Learn more
Need help? Our Nutrition Outreach & Education Program (NOEP) Coordinators help people apply for SNAP. Located across NYS, we offer:
- Application assistance, including phone interviews and online application submission
- Assistance with submitting documentation.
- Assistance with medical deductions. Medical deductions can dramatically affect someone’s potential eligibility for SNAP
Programs to Help Seniors Access SNAP
New York State provides multiple pathways to SNAP participation for seniors (age 60+) and people with disabilities. The Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP), NYS Nutrition Improvement Project (NYSNIP) and the NYS Combined Application Project (NYSCAP) are special projects designed to improve access to SNAP for these vulnerable groups. Specific eligibility requirements determine which route to SNAP a potentially eligible senior or disabled person may take. Senior/disabled households can only be determined eligible to participate in one of these three programs.
Seniors and people with disabilities who have no earned income and live in households where all adults are 60 and over and/or disabled can qualify for ESAP. Participants receiving SNAP under ESAP benefit from a simplified application, a longer certification period, and fewer recertification requirements.
NYSNIP & NYSCAP
Beginning December 1, 2021, seniors and people with disabilities who live alone and receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are automatically enrolled in NYSCAP. NYSCAP is replacing NYSNIP, which is phasing out over time. Anyone currently receiving NYSNIP will be transitioned to NYSCAP by 2023.
Seniors who are ineligible for ESAP and NYSNIP/NYSCAP may still qualify for SNAP. SNAP rules include special provisions that expand access and maximize benefits for seniors and people with disabilities, including expanded categorical eligibility, medical deductions and, in some cases, a higher resource test.
|Who Can Participate||All adults in household must be seniors or disabled with no earned income||Seniors or disabled who are on SSI and live alone||Seniors or disabled who are on SSI and live alone||Seniors or disabled who are ineligible for ESAP or NYSCAP—may have earned income|
|Application & Enrollment|
Effective Dec. 1, 2021: New applicants will be placed in ESAP, if eligible. Current SNAP recipients will be placed in ESAP at recertification, if eligible.
Effective Dec. 1, 2021:
No SNAP application. Eligible participants auto-enrolled based on SNAP office data matching to Social Security Administration coding.
|Benefits||Individualized budget||Standardized budget|
Participants must redeem benefits within 90 days of auto-enrollment
Maximize benefits with:
Computer matches for:
Participants must submit:
Participants must submit forms to maximize benefits
Participants must submit forms to maximize benefits
|See SNAP Prescreening Guide for detailed information on SNAP documentation|
Latest SNAP & Seniors News
New Research Shows SNAP Enrollment Reduces Hospital Visits and Healthcare Costs for Seniors Enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid
Shop Online Using SNAP
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