ROCK HILL — 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.
Catawba Area Agency on Aging 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.
Catawba Area Agency on Aging 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 eligibility, 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 Chester, Lancaster, Union and York counties improve their health and financial security,” said Deb Lewis, Family Caregiver Advocate for Catawab Area Agency on Aging. “Catawba Area Agency on Aging 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 the Catawba Region.”
To find out more about SNAP eligibility, contact Catawba Area Agency on Aging. For more information on NCOA’s senior hunger initiative, visit ncoa.org/SeniorHunger.
How you can reach Catawba Area Agency on Aging …
803-329-9670 — 800-662-8330 — www.catawba-aging.com — 2051 Ebenezer Road in Rock Hill
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. Our mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. Through innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy, NCOA is partnering with nonprofit organizations, government, and business to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. Learn more at ncoa.org and @NCOAging.
This story courtesy of Deb Pittman, Certified Information & Referral Specialist for Aging/Disability (CIRS A/D), Catawba Area Agency on Aging.