Guide to Food Stamps for Seniors on Social Security

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  • Use this guide to food stamps for seniors on Social Security to learn more about eligibility requirements as well as how to apply for these useful benefits.

The food stamp program, officially referred to as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is specifically designed to help low-income individuals and families obtain the nutritional foods they need to remain healthy. The program can provide food stamps for seniors on Social Security if they meet strict eligibility requirements. While the SNAP program is federally funded, its benefits are distributed through state agencies.

How Do Food Stamps Work?

Seniors can use food stamps to purchase a variety of food options at grocery stores, farmer’s markets and other eligible locations. Some consumption items that cannot be purchased with food stamps include tobacco, alcohol, vitamins and hot foods, such as meals served at restaurants.

The amount of each monthly food stamps payment is based on household size and income, but the maximum monthly payment for the benefit period of January 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021 is $234 for a one-person household and $430 for a two-person household. Monthly benefits are transferred to the seniors' personal Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which works similarly to a bank debit card.

Food Stamps for Seniors on Social Security

To be eligible for food stamps, seniors must live in the state where they are applying for benefits and meet specific financial eligibility guidelines.  For the reporting period of January 1, 2021, to September 30, 2021, households with at least one member age 60 or over must have under $3,500 in countable resources, such as cash in a bank account. Other assets, such as a home or most pension plans are not considered countable resources.

Seniors must also meet net income limits of no more than $1,064 for a one-person household and $1,437 for a two-person household. Net income includes all earned and unearned wages, including Social Security, minus eligible deductions, including a portion of housing costs and any medical costs over $35 that are not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance.   

Seniors who are interested in obtaining food stamps should start by contacting or visiting their local SNAP office. If necessary, another household member or an eligible representative may also contact their local SNAP office. Additionally, many states accept online applications for food stamps for seniors on Social Security.