Skip to main content
  • COVID-19
  • Contact us

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.

Who is this network for?

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!

Why join?

In addition to the great resources below, joining the network gives you access to the latest SNAP policy updates, events, webinars, and opportunities for sharing best practices and peer-to-peer learning. Sign up today!

Join the Network today!

Click here and sign up to receive all the benefits of the SNAP & Seniors Network!

SNAP & Seniors Facts

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.

Expanded Categorical 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.

Separate Household Status for those who are elderly and disabled

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.

Medical Deductions

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.

Telephone Interviews

Households comprised of all seniors and/or adults with disabilities and no earned income are granted telephone interviews automatically.

Authorized Representatives

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.

Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

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:

How to Apply for SNAP

Applicants can apply online at myBenefits or in person at a local DSS or HRA office.

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

Find your local NOEP Coordinator

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.

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.

Compare the Programs:




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
  • Interview required
  • Screened for expedited service

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.

Apply: LDSS-5166, myBenefits, or AccessHRA


  • Auto-enrolled
  • No interview required
  • Not screened for expedited service

Effective Dec. 1, 2021:
NYSNIP transitioning to NYSCAP. New participants will be placed in NYSCAP. Current NYSNIP participants will be placed in NYSCAP at recertification.

  • Auto-enrolled
  • No interview required
  • Not screened for expedited service

No SNAP application. Eligible participants auto-enrolled based on SNAP office data matching to Social Security Administration coding.

  • Interview required
  • Screened for expedited service


Apply: myBenefits or AccessHRA


  • Every 36 months
  • Documents  required
  • No interview required
  • Non-mandatory interim report at 18 months
  • Every 48 months
  • Documents required
  • Interview required
  • Mandatory interim report at 24 months


  • Every 36 months
  • Documents required
  • Interview required
  • Mandatory interim report at 18 months
  • Every 12 months
  • Documents required
  • Interview required
  • Mandatory change report form at 6 months
Benefits Individualized budget Standardized budget


Individualized budget


Participants must redeem benefits within 90 days of auto-enrollment

Individualized budget


Maximize benefits with:

  • Categorical eligibility
  • Medical deductions
  • Higher resource test



Computer matches for:

  • Unearned income
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number

Self-declaration for:

  • Shelter expenses
  • SUA

Participants must submit:

  • Residency
  • Medical deductions

Participants must submit forms to maximize benefits


Participants must submit forms to maximize benefits


See SNAP Prescreening Guide for detailed information on SNAP documentation


Sample senior hunger awareness social media messages and graphics

Download for sample messages and images to post on your social media channels

Webinar: Lunch & Learn: Elderly Simplified Application Project

Webinar: How to Maximize SNAP for Seniors

Stay up to date

Get the latest news, action alerts, press releases, and hunger research delivered to your inbox.