SNAP participation rates for elderly households in Texas higher when non-elderly person present
Many people who meet the eligibility requirements for USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) do not apply to receive program benefits. Elderly Americans, in particular, tend to participate in SNAP at a much lower rate than other age groups. Just over one in three elderly individuals—those age 60 and older—eligible for SNAP participated in the program in fiscal year 2010, compared to about nine out of every ten eligible children, and seven out of ten eligible non-elderly adults. However, estimates from Texas SNAP administrative records linked to the American Community Survey reveal that the elderly are more likely to participate if they live with at least one non-elderly individual, rather than living alone or only with other elderly individuals. In 2009, only 35.9 percent of eligible elderly Texans living alone participated in SNAP, roughly the same rate as those living with other elderly individuals. By contrast, the participation rate among individuals in elderly households with at least one non-elderly member was 53.5 percent. This chart appears in “New Analysis Reveals Significant Within-State Variation in SNAP Participation Rates” in ERS’s December 2013 Amber Waves magazine.
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