The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, provides nutritional benefits to low-income individuals and households. It is one of the leading federal nutrition assistance programs in the U.S. The program makes it easy for struggling individuals to buy healthy foods like fruits and vegetables at grocery stores and anywhere that accepts the EBT (electronic benefit transfer) card. Many Farmer’s Markets also accept EBT cards, allowing low-income families to buy fresh, seasonal produce anytime. In turn, a healthier diet can reduce medical costs. Although this program is beneficial for all needy Americans, SNAP for seniors (persons age 60 or older) can go a long way in helping them maintain a healthy lifestyle.
1. What is SNAP for Seniors?
SNAP can help seniors decrease their risk of hunger and other dietary issues, such as diabetes. Senior poverty may not be high in the U.S., but this program is crucial in ending senior poverty where it exists. Eligible seniors who have a low income or live on a fixed income will get a stipend, which gets transferred on their EBT card every month. The stipend amount varies across states, and is based on circumstances, such as household size and income. Medical expenses also play a role. For example, the Food and Nutrition Service states that elderly members may receive a $35 deduction on medical costs, like nursing care, and may only need to meet the net income requirement.
Additionally, seniors generally receive a higher food allowance when participating in the program. The minimum monthly benefit a senior can receive is $16. However, approximately 80% of SNAP seniors receive more than the minimum. On average, the monthly SNAP benefit for seniors is $104/month, according to recent data. If you are age 60 or older and struggling to pay for groceries, you should take advantage of the many benefits of SNAP for seniors. Unfortunately, studies show that 3 out of 5 seniors who qualify for federal food assistance have not applied. Learn how to apply in your state by contacting your local SNAP office.
2. Start Using the Medical Expense Deduction
Again, some seniors can deduct eligible medical expenses. It’s known as the medical expense deduction. This deduction doesn’t just apply to the elderly individual but households with an elderly individual, too. Some medical expenses that are allowable include:
- Dental and medical care
- Prescriptions (OTC, medical supplies, sick room equipment, and other medical equipment)
- Medicare premiums (unless paid for by a third party)
- Medicaid co-payments
- Cancer or another specialized insurance policy costs
- Loan payments for medical debts
The list goes on and is extensive. Unfortunately, many seniors who qualify for the medical expense deduction don’t use it. Only 16% of SNAP seniors currently take advantage of these deductions. However, if you or a family member pays $35 a month on out-of-pocket medical costs, they may be able to deduct the cost from their gross income before applying for SNAP.
3. What is an EBT Card for Seniors?
EBT cards for seniors are much like EBT cards for all eligible SNAP participants. SNAP benefits will go on the EBT card, which works like a debit card. Your EBT card can purchase foods that the program permits at retail stores that accept EBT, such as supermarkets, farmer’s markets, and discount variety stores. You will receive a monthly stipend, which automatically transfers into your account. SNAP for seniors differs with medical expenses. Again, if you pay more than $35 out-of-pocket every month on medical costs, you may be able to deduct that from your gross income. As a result, this can increase your monthly SNAP benefit amount.
4. Food Stamps for Seniors on Social Security
Social Security provides financial security to millions of needy Americans, including the elderly. People receive social security at age 62. So, does that make them ineligible for SNAP, also known as food stamps? No. If you are on social security, you can still receive food stamps as a senior. However, you must must meet stricter eligibility requirements to receive SNAP benefits.
- Households with at least one elderly member must have less than $3,500 in assets (whereas it’s $2,500 or less for households without social security).
- One-person households must have a net income limit less than $1,064 (two-person households must not exceed $1,437).
- Net income includes all earned and unearned wages (including social security).
And of course, you must be a resident in the state in which you apply for SNAP benefits.
5. Do You Qualify for SNAP? You May Qualify for Lifeline or ACP
These 5 facts about SNAP for Seniors should open your eyes to the program benefits. SNAP for seniors can help individuals eat fresh, healthy foods to improve their health. This program prevents people from skipping meals they can’t afford to buy at supermarkets. Another benefit of SNAP is that it’s a program that can qualify you for Lifeline or the Affordable Connectivity Program. These two federal benefit programs can reduce the cost of your broadband internet bill by providing a discount of up to $30 on monthly broadband Internet access service ($75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands). When partnering with a wireless service provider, such as Q Link Wireless, you can receive FREE Data, Talk, & Text on the Lifeline Program and FREE UNLIMITED Data, Talk, & Text on the Affordable Connectivity Program.
To enroll, again, you must be part of a Government program, like SNAP, or Medicaid.
If you want to know whether SNAP can eliminate your phone bill, find out if you qualify. Sign up with Q Link Wireless today.
We make it easy to get started, but if you have additional questions on either program, contact us or call 1-855-754-6543 to speak with a member of our Support Team. We’ll be happy to answer your questions!