When it comes to eating a healthy diet, millions of Americans 65 and over face a double whammy: a fixed income, and rising food costs.
Nationally, adults aged 65+ have an average annual income of $46,627, and they spend more than $5,500—or nearly 12%—on food. Additionally, this year those who rely on Social Security received just a 0.3% increase in their Cost of Living Adjustment. Their friends just 10 years younger have a greater income (averaging $75,262 annually), and they spend less (9.3%) on groceries.
Elder Law of Michigan, Inc. was recently awarded a grant to support a National Council on Aging (NCOA) nationwide effort to help older adults struggling to buy groceries apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to supplement their food budget.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that just 2 out of every 5 seniors who are eligible for SNAP are enrolled in the program. This means that millions of low-income older adults are missing out on this vital program, which provides an average monthly benefit of $110 to help participants buy healthy food.
Elder Law of Michigan is one of more than 30 community organizations across the country that is stepping up its efforts to assist seniors in applying for SNAP. The organizations will use NCOA’s free online BenefitsCheckUp® tool (www.BenefitsCheckUp.org) to screen older adults with limited income for SNAP eligibility. Since 2014, the initiative has screened almost 400,000 people for SNAP eliegibility, and helped nearly 70,000 seniors apply for SNAP.
“We’re excited to be part of this proven effort that has the potential to help low-income older adults in Elder Law of Michigan improve their health and financial security,” said Keith Morris, President, Elder Law of Michigan. “Elder Law of Michigan has a strong history of helping seniors in need. We’re confident that increasing SNAP enrollment with BenefitsCheckUp® and other proven outreach methods will have a profound effect on lives of seniors in Michigan.”
To find out more about SNAP eligibility, contact the MiCAFE Network at 877.664.2233.
For more information on NCOA’s senior hunger initiative, visit ncoa.org/SeniorHunger.