May is Older Americans Month, so let’s take some time to talk about a serious issue effecting many seniors – hunger.
In the U.S., 15.5% (9.3 million) of all seniors experience hunger. In North Carolina, the proportion is even higher, with 18.3% of seniors facing hunger. Each day millions of seniors are forced to make difficult decisions about how to spend their limited resources. They may skip meals to pay for medicine. Or forgo medical care in order to buy food. They may get by in the summer without air conditioning, so they can buy groceries.
Many of these older adults are eligible to receive SNAP, but are not accessing this important resource. In the U.S and North Carolina, less than half of eligible seniors receive SNAP. Why is participation so low? Some reasons include:
Lack of information about eligibility.
Many seniors don’t realize they are eligible to receive SNAP. Some believe that SNAP is only for families with children. Others believe that having resources, such as owning a home, make them ineligible. Neither of these statements are true. SNAP eligibility is based on income by household size. Having children is not an eligibility requirement. A person living alone can qualify if they meet income limits. In some cases resources are considered when applying for SNAP, but you can own a home a still qualify for SNAP.
Complexity of the application process.
Some seniors may not apply because they believe the application process is difficult and not worth their time. They may also face challenges that make it hard to fill out the application, such as difficulty with writing or reading. If they don’t drive, transportation can also be a barrier to getting and submitting an application.
More In My Basket reduces barriers to SNAP participation by educating community members about the benefits of SNAP and the eligibility criteria. We also provide individualized assistance with completing the application, which simplifies the process of applying.
Are you interested in learning more about SNAP? Do you have a friend, relative, or neighbor that may be interested?
Call us toll free at 1-855-240-1451 to speak to a More In My Basket representative. We can answer questions, complete an eligibility screening, and provide assistance with the application. We can also send you informational materials to share with an individual or group that may be eligible.
 National Foundation to End Senior Hunger. State of Senior Hunger in America 2013: An Annual Report (http://www.nfesh.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/State-of-Senior-Hunger-in-America-2013.pdf
 Source: USDA, 2012. Building a Healthy America: A Profile of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/BuildingHealthyAmerica.pdf