ROCK HILL — When it comes to eating a healthy diet, millions of Americans 65 and over face a double whammy: their income is fixed, and their spending on food is consuming a larger portion of their budget.
Nationally, adults aged 65+ have an average annual income of $41,000, and they spend nearly $5,200 — or more than 12% — on food. Their friends just 10 years younger have a greater income (averaging $63,000 annually), and they spend less (10.6%) on groceries.
Catawba Area Agency on Aging, in partnership with the National Council on Aging (NCOA), has joined a nationwide effort to support these older adults by helping them access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that only 2 out of every 5 seniors who are eligible for SNAP are enrolled in the program. This means that millions of low-income elders are missing out on this vital program, which provides an average monthly benefit of $113 to help participants buy healthy food. This benefit could put adequate nutrition within reach for many seniors who are struggling to make ends meet.
Catawba Area Agency on Aging is one of more than 30 community organizations around 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. In 2014, the initiative helped more than 30,000 seniors apply for SNAP through local partners and assisted more than 300,000 access the SNAP application online.
“We’re excited to be part of this proven effort that has the potential to help tens of thousands of low-income older adults improve their health and financial security,” said Barbara Robinson, Executive Director. “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 Chester, Lancaster, Union and York counties.”
To find out more about SNAP eligibility, contact Catawba Area Agency on Aging at 803-329-9670 or toll free 800-662-8330.
For more information on NCOA’s senior hunger initiative, visit http://www.ncoa.org/SeniorHunger.
About Catawba Area Agency on Aging
The Catawba Area Agency on Aging is a private non-profit organization designated by South Carolina to administer senior programs in Chester, Lancaster, Union and York counties. Our mission is to help older adults to live at home with independence and dignity. In partnership with community programs and services, Catawba Area Agency on Aging assists older adults in the Catawba Region with aging issues to improve the quality of their lives. Learn more at www.catawba-aging.com and find us on Facebook.
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.