Farmers Market vouchers for low-income seniors

The Farmers Market Program is back in Somerset County.

The purpose of the Farmers Market Program sponsored by the Area Agency on Aging of Somerset County is to provide resources in the form of fresh, nutritious, locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs from farmers markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs to low-income seniors.

"Last year we handed out 1,666 sets of vouchers," said Christine Saylor, Senior Center Services director for the Area Agency on Aging of Somerset County, in an email. "This year each eligible senior will receive $50 in vouchers to spend at any authorized farmer, last year it was only $24."

The income guidelines have gone up, so double check your total household income, Saylor said.

Low-income seniors who are at least 60 years old by Dec. 31, 2023, may qualify for this benefit. The income guidelines for one person is $26,973 and two people is $36,482.

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"Some are too proud, but when they see their neighbor getting them and realize there is no shame in them, they apply," Saylor said, "because it is all done through the mail and nobody would know unless they tell them they received them."

Checks distributed

Farmers Market checks are distributed through the Area Agency on Aging of Somerset County. A flyer will be provided to each voucher recipient listing the eligible items for purchase and program guidelines when they receive their checks. These checks are then redeemable for fresh fruit and vegetables grown in Pennsylvania. Each consumer receives five $10 Farmers Market checks to redeem at qualified farmers’ markets or roadside stands within Somerset County. This year they will be mailing checks to eligible recipients.

"Our Somerset County Seniors, 60 or older are excited about this program. They usually start calling the agency in February to find out if we know when it will start," Saylor said. "I start to get ready for it in March of each year."

Print an application from the Area Agency on Aging website at www.somersetaaa.org, or if participants prefer to pick up a form from a senior center or the AAA, they can do so between 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Checks will be mailed after June 1. Make copies of the application. Proxy forms are not required this year. Participants will not be able to walk in and receive their checks.

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Contact the AAA office at 814-443-2681 for more information.

The 2023 household income eligibility is:

1 person — $26,973

2 people — $36,482

3 people — $45,991

4 people — $55,500

5 people — $65,009

6 people — $74,518

7 people — $84,027

8 people — $93,536

This article originally appeared on The Daily American: Farmers Market vouchers for low-income seniors