A new application will make it easier for senior citizens to apply for food stamps.
Only about half of eligible seniors are signed up for food stamps, compared with about 65 percent of eligible Minnesotans overall.
State officials and nonprofit groups have been trying to persuade more older people to sign up through ad campaigns and outreach. The state has launched a one-page application for Minnesotans age 60 and older.
It's beneficial for everyone if senior citizens get the help they need, said Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson.
"Seniors that are able to afford healthy, nutritious food, they're going to be healthier," Jesson said. "They're going to be able to live in their homes and their communities longer. Too many seniors still are having to choose between paying for groceries and paying for prescriptions. We want to stop that."
Jesson added: "We have too many of our senior citizens who are eligible to get help, dollars to buy groceries at the end of those months that are tough, and they're not accessing the program. So this will make it easier for them to be able to get that help."
Most Minnesotans will still need to use the 10-page application, which allows people to apply for multiple assistance programs at once. That application will be streamlined in the coming years, Jesson said.
Food stamps are officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.