1 in 10 senior households relies on food stamps

Many older Americans are struggling to keep food on the table.

One in 10 households with seniors aged 60 and older receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also called food stamps, according to a study released Wednesday by the anti-poverty nonprofit Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), in collaboration with AARP Foundation.

U.S. Census Bureau data from all 3,142 counties in the nation show the rate of senior SNAP usage remains largely consistent for all kinds of counties, the analysis found. Some 10% of senior homes in metropolitan areas, 10% of those in small towns, and 11% of those in rural areas participate in SNAP. However, out of the 50 counties with SNAP participation above 25%, 75% were rural and only 15% were metropolitan.

The number of elderly SNAP beneficiaries is likely to increase in the coming years as baby boomers age and continue to face unique financial challenges. Rent has grown faster than wages over the past two years, according to numbers from the Labor Department released in July, and health-care premiums have risen from an average of $6,000 per year in 1999 to $18,000 in 2016, an Economic Policy Institute study found.

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