Many people age 60 and older are eligible for SNAP food assistance benefits. These benefits provide supplemental money to purchase food items.
If you think you are not eligible for SNAP, you may want to think again. Only two out of five people who are eligible for SNAP are enrolled. That means that a lot of people are not getting the benefits they are entitled to.
Because we do not want you to miss out on your benefits, we’ve outlined the basics of SNAP and how to apply for senior SNAP benefits.
What is SNAP?
SNAP stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP is the nation’s largest federal nutrition program for individuals and families who need some help buying food items. SNAP aims to improve food security and nutrition among low-income Americans.
Food security is a growing issue among older Ohioans. Getting a sufficient amount of nutrition affects all aspects of a person’s life, so older adults must understand nutrition assistance programs that are available.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) provides grants to community-based organizations to enroll eligible seniors in SNAP. In Summit County, seniors can enroll through the Summit County Department of Job and Family Services
How Does SNAP Work?
Food assistance has come a long way since the days of food stamps. Now, recipients can use their SNAP benefits with an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card.
Each month, your SNAP benefits will automatically load onto the card. The card can be used as a debit card on eligible items. It is discrete and you do not have to worry about keeping track of food stamp coupons.
You can use your SNAP benefits at any participating food store. Eligible groceries include fruits and vegetables, bread and cereals, and meats and poultry.
You cannot use your SNAP benefits for some items. These include alcohol, tobacco, prepared and ready-to-consume foods, non-food items, pet food, and vitamins.
SNAP benefits offer additional perks. For example, you can rollover funds each month to accumulate a larger amount. By purchasing food with SNAP benefits, you can earn points to use at local farmers’ markets.
SNAP is not a charity. Like Social Security and Medicare, you pay into it so that it is there when you need it. Another thing you might not know about SNAP is that it helps the economy by allowing more people to shop at local grocery stores. And, you are never taking SNAP benefits away from someone else when you enroll – there is more than enough for those who need it.
How Do I Apply for Senior SNAP Benefits?
Are you wondering, “How do I apply for senior SNAP benefits?
To enroll in SNAP, you must fill out an application. Check with your county’s Department of Job and Family Services office to find out how to submit an application in your location.
If you live in Summit County, Ohio, the Summit County Department of Job and Family Services can help you enroll in SNAP. After you complete, sign, and date the application, you can submit it online, fax it to 866-351-8292, or mail it to 1180 S. Main Street, Suite 102, Akron, OH 44301-1256. Applications for Summit County can be found here.
To fill out the application correctly, you will need the following for each member of your household:
- Social Security number
- Photo ID
- Alien registration card (if not a U.S. citizen)
- Proof of income
- Proof of shelter costs (rent or mortgage, utility bills, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, condo fees, second mortgages)
- Childcare expenses
- Child support paid to someone not living in the household
- Child support received
- Proof of disability, if claimed
- Medical bills (for those 60 and older, or disabled)
If you qualify for SNAP, a case manager will be assigned to you. The case manager can help you understand how your benefits work and what you need to do to get started.
Learn More About SNAP at a Free Lunch
The Summit County Department of Job and Family Services has joined forces with VANTAGE Aging to break the stigma of SNAP. Through April 2020, the organizations are traveling across Summit County to help older adults understand SNAP enrollment and benefits.
The events, called Seniors, Sandwiches & SNAP, include a free lunch and tons of great resources.
Do you want to attend a Seniors, Sandwiches & SNAP lunch to learn more about SNAP? Check our Seniors, Sandwiches & SNAP event page for upcoming dates and to register online. You can also check VANTAGE’s Facebook page for ongoing updates and new events. If you have questions, please call 330-253-4597.