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Increased Enrollment of Seniors to SNAP Program

By Daniel @ LivingSenior - July 8, 2013

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SNAP is the national food stamp program to help low income individuals and families. In past years the highest enrollment numbers have come from families of three or more. This has changed in the past few years to accommodate couples, single parents and seniors. In 2013 and 2013 the numbers for senior enrollment in the SNAP program have seen a huge increase. In fact, the second highest enrollment in 2013 for new enrollment to SNAP has been seniors.

The USDA has claimed that there is a large number of new enrollment of seniors, but there is still a very large number of eligible seniors who are not yet enrolled. The SNAP program is ready to take on these eligible seniors, but the seniors have to apply. A recent article by the USDA has said that seniors are the largest and most critical group of people to try and bring to the SNAP program. This is for several reasons. One of the main reasons is due to the fact that many seniors are currently listed as below the poverty line. They are living off retirement savings, health savings accounts and 401k plans. Though this does provide them with living expenses, they are tightly budgeted. This means that the slightest offset to the budget may cause a huge issue for those seniors.

Seniors facing low income, tight budgets and increases of budget issues are eligible for various forms of government and state benefits. One of the benefits is SNAP and SNAP officials feel that this is the most important eligibility. The choice between lifesaving medication and medical supplies or food is not something that SNAP feels seniors should have to face. In fact, many SNAP representatives have stated they feel that if the person is eligible they should be granted benefits without strict application procedures.

There are new plans in the works by SNAP to reach what they are calling critical seniors. These are the seniors that are having to make the choice between medicine, supplies and food. These are the seniors who are facing tough budget choices every day. These new plans are attempts to bring more seniors in and remove the shame that some seniors feel in applying for or obtaining SNAP benefits. The programs are designed to educate seniors and get them to a point they understand these SNAP benefits are there to help and not to hurt.

The SNAP program is even working with various senior centers to help educate and bring in more seniors to the program. Though enrollment is increasing among the senior population, SNAP feels that there are more seniors that need to be reached. They feel that it is dire to help these seniors and keep them in a situation where food and medication are both provided and not a choice. The programs are working in some areas and continue to reach out to seniors across the country. The hope is to reach even more seniors and to help as many as possible with upcoming programs and services.