Changing patterns of take up and participation in SNAP and the role of out-of-pocket medical expenses

SNAP eligibility and participation rates have been increasing for adults 50 years and older since 2008. At the same time, SNAP participation continues to fall over the life course, with the lowest rates concentrated among individuals 85 years and above. We use longitudinal data from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Survey from 2002 to 2016 to document how SNAP eligibility, participation, and take-up changed over time for older adults. Then, we investigate the role that out-of-pocket medical expenses have played in these changing patterns.  We rely upon the state adoption of the Medicaid Expansion in 2014 as a source of exogenous variation. 



PDF Thumbnail


PDF icon DP2023-03.pdf


Colleen Heflin Jun Li Dongmei Zuo