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Food Stamp Cuts Could Hit Military Members, Veterans

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Food Stamp Cuts Could Hit Military Members, Veterans

Food Stamps

WASHINGTON -- Congress' push to cut food stamps could cause collateral damage in the military, hitting everyone from active-duty members to retirees, who together have used more than $100 million in federal food aid on military bases over the past year, a Huffington Post review of the data found.

Decrying the surge in food stamp costs since the start of the recession, politicians increasingly have been calling for a crackdown on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The program has expanded from covering 26 million Americans in 2007 to more than 44 million in 2011.

Suggesting that growth is evidence of fraud and abuse, House Republicans passed a budget resolution for 2013 that would cut the program by $134 billion over 10 years. In its version of the farm bill, the House Agriculture Committee has proposed $33 billion in cuts.

The Senate Agriculture Committee's farm bill -- which is being debated on the Senate floor this week -- would cut $4.5 billion, likely making that figure the low end in negotiating SNAP belt-tightening when the House and Senate merge their different bills later in the year.

In making their case, supporters of cuts generally point to headline-grabbing cases of fraud such as lottery winners who continue to collect food stamps. Some proponents, including Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), argue that maintaining such a high rate of aid to the hungry is not moral because it encourages dependency.

But one group who has not entered the debate so far is the growing number of Americans who have served the country in the armed forces and rely on food stamps.

The Department of Defense does not admit to many active-duty personnel using SNAP or the military's own version of the program, the Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance. About 500 service members received the latter allowance in 2010. A military spokeswoman said officials were currently studying food stamp use by the troops. The most recent quality control survey by the Agriculture Department, also covering 2010, found about 1,000 military members receiving food stamps.

The Defense Department argues that if housing allowances are included in pay, most service members don't qualify for food aid. However, a benefits consulting company called BeneStream.com, which studied the issue in 2009, estimated then that 130,000 service members actually would be eligible for the help.

"We know from our sources in the military that they're seeing a hell of a lot more families in the low pay grades than they used to, and that's where they're seeing a lot of stress issues," said Ben Geyerhahn of BeneStream. "We know that for military families, the top two stressors are, No. 1, the death of a family member, but No. 2 is financial."

The base pay of most recent enlistees -- from corporals on down -- is at or below the $23,050 poverty rate for a family of four. The military, which counts housing allowances, tax advantages and bonuses in its own accounting of pay, estimates the average junior enlisted member earns about $43,000.

HuffPost looked at data provided by the Defense Commissary Agency -- which serves a wide range of military members, including retirees -- and concluded that commissary customers have redeemed $101 million worth of food stamps since June 2011. According to a recent Stars and Stripes analysis, that figure was $31 million in 2008.

In the broader population, Census data suggests that some 1.5 million households with a veteran were receiving SNAP benefits.

Lawmakers who want to block cuts to food aid point out that the lingering effects of the recession are expected to drive food stamp rolls higher through 2014. They argue that any further reductions will necessarily impact people who have served their country and are already in need.

"It is shocking enough to hear a senator question the morality of ensuring children facing a constant struggle against hunger have access to the food assistance they so desperately need to be healthy," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), referring to Sessions, who singled her out last week over her effort to stop cuts. "It is even more shocking when you face the reality of how many brave men and women who have fought honorably for our country are depending on this program to get their next meal."

Gillibrand has offered an amendment to the farm bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and at least a dozen other senators, that would preserve the current spending on food stamps. The amendment could receive a vote Tuesday or Wednesday.

by on Jun. 20, 2012 at 8:47 AM
Replies (41-49):
mehamil1
by on Jun. 20, 2012 at 2:03 PM

You keep ignoring the recession. Why do you always do that? I thought you were into math. So many people lost their jobs in 2008 (myself included, I was working at Nordstrom in 2008 and the economy tanked, the rich people weren't buying over priced shoes anymore) because of the recession caused by the housing bubble bursting. 

Why do you constantly ignore that? 

Quoting asfriend:

That is of course false.

Unemployment was always around 5% when the repubs were in charge of the Presidency and the Congress, it went up in 2007 when the Dems took control and then skyrocketed after Obama was elected and has stayed high until now, even not counting all the ones that they simply stopped counting.

You can look it up.

Quoting _Kissy_:

Hmmm maybe its because we was losing 700,000 jobs a month under the president whose name can't be mentioned


NiCo86
by Member on Jun. 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM
One good apple in the bunch doesn't speak for the majority.

Quoting mehamil1:

Working, going to school, and taking care of my son brought me almost to a nervous breakdown. My health, already pretty delicate since I was born with a congenital heart defect, was tanking and my hair was falling out. 

Choosing not to work and focus completely on school was the best choice I ever made. My family helped me through it. I was on food stamps only once during that time and it was when my father retired and he found out that his pension wouldn't be as high as he thought it would be and then spent three months looking for a job (not easy for a 50 year old man with numerous back problems). He finally found one as a security guard for a bank which he got because he's a veteran and veterans get preferential treatment for those kinds of jobs. The $200 a month I got in food stamps is what kept my whole family fed in that time since all the money coming in was going towards the mortgage on the house and health insurance and utilities. My sisters helped out as well even though they don't live with us. As soon as we didn't need it anymore I cancelled the card even though I could have had it another three months. 

Not everyone can do what you did. I certainly couldn't. Because I chose to not work and go to school full time instead of part time, I am now in my last class. This summer I am officially done with school after 7 years. Now I'm sending out resumes everywhere. 

Some people truly do need it and shaming them does not help. 


Quoting NiCo86:

it's the era of entitlement. They "deserve" to have a new car, bigger house, nice clothes, fake nails, etc. and they're going to "work so hard" at their jobs to get these nice things ... why? because they can rely on the government to feed their kids!

I worked FT, while having two kids, and got a dual bachelor degree with honors online at CTU. I did NOT utilize assistance through any of this! Many sleepless nights, brain boggled and on the verge of unfunctional at times LOL but that's the choice when I CHOSE to get married and have children BEFORE furthering my education. I was getting ENOUGH government assistance with what FAFSA Pell Grants I received. But there are some mom's who CHOOSE to stop working (or only work PT) so that they can go to school, and use FS's to feed their kids. I find that unacceptable!!

Welfare NEEDS to tighten their restrictions, or something! A BIG issue, is they make it TOO EASY to live on welfare for extended periods of time. They give you so much money, but if you had to go out in the real world to make that SAME money, then you start having to pay gas to get back and forth to work, childcare expenses show up, and you realize that working makes you less money than not working!

Quoting gammie:

This is why we need to cut the people who abuse the system. People who see it as a second pay check.

My daughter who is in other groups on CM, talks to women who are on CM and by a new car, take great trips spend, spend, spend and than they say they can't afford health insurance and other things they should be paying.

The problem is we have created monsters with "help the poor" the young think it is the job of the government to pay for health care, food and shelter. Things will become just like Europe, the money will run out!!



The people in need are the one who will always suffer. They will get pushed aside by the abuser.



Posted on CafeMom Mobile
asfriend
by on Jun. 20, 2012 at 2:10 PM

What makes you think that I am ignoring it?

Quoting mehamil1:

You keep ignoring the recession. Why do you always do that? I thought you were into math. So many people lost their jobs in 2008 (myself included, I was working at Nordstrom in 2008 and the economy tanked, the rich people weren't buying over priced shoes anymore) because of the recession caused by the housing bubble bursting. 

Why do you constantly ignore that? 

Quoting asfriend:

That is of course false.

Unemployment was always around 5% when the repubs were in charge of the Presidency and the Congress, it went up in 2007 when the Dems took control and then skyrocketed after Obama was elected and has stayed high until now, even not counting all the ones that they simply stopped counting.

You can look it up.

Quoting _Kissy_:

Hmmm maybe its because we was losing 700,000 jobs a month under the president whose name can't be mentioned

 


mehamil1
by on Jun. 20, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Except that this is the majority. There are a few bad apples that are cast as the standard. That's how it always happens. That's how stereotypes develop. And since most of us humans tend to not personally know more than 150 people at a time over our whole lifetimes, this can be hard to grasp since we all tend to know that one particular bad apple. But at the macro level, they are not the standard. And the media portrayals don't help. Like always portraying black people to be on assistance when raw numbers wise, more white people are on assistance. 

The vast majority of people who are on assistance need it and do not do frivolous things with what little they get. We all personally know idiots who are on it. I can count on one hand how many people I personally know who are abusing the system. But they are not representative of the whole thing. You have assholes in every part of our society. Heck, just look at the government! Look at the crazy things those people get away with. It's a larger symptom of our society. The poor are an easy target because they lack the resources to defend themselves. Whereas politicians have lots of resources to defend themselves. 

Quoting NiCo86:

One good apple in the bunch doesn't speak for the majority.
Quoting mehamil1:

Working, going to school, and taking care of my son brought me almost to a nervous breakdown. My health, already pretty delicate since I was born with a congenital heart defect, was tanking and my hair was falling out. 

Choosing not to work and focus completely on school was the best choice I ever made. My family helped me through it. I was on food stamps only once during that time and it was when my father retired and he found out that his pension wouldn't be as high as he thought it would be and then spent three months looking for a job (not easy for a 50 year old man with numerous back problems). He finally found one as a security guard for a bank which he got because he's a veteran and veterans get preferential treatment for those kinds of jobs. The $200 a month I got in food stamps is what kept my whole family fed in that time since all the money coming in was going towards the mortgage on the house and health insurance and utilities. My sisters helped out as well even though they don't live with us. As soon as we didn't need it anymore I cancelled the card even though I could have had it another three months. 

Not everyone can do what you did. I certainly couldn't. Because I chose to not work and go to school full time instead of part time, I am now in my last class. This summer I am officially done with school after 7 years. Now I'm sending out resumes everywhere. 

Some people truly do need it and shaming them does not help. 

Quoting NiCo86:

it's the era of entitlement. They "deserve" to have a new car, bigger house, nice clothes, fake nails, etc. and they're going to "work so hard" at their jobs to get these nice things ... why? because they can rely on the government to feed their kids!

I worked FT, while having two kids, and got a dual bachelor degree with honors online at CTU. I did NOT utilize assistance through any of this! Many sleepless nights, brain boggled and on the verge of unfunctional at times LOL but that's the choice when I CHOSE to get married and have children BEFORE furthering my education. I was getting ENOUGH government assistance with what FAFSA Pell Grants I received. But there are some mom's who CHOOSE to stop working (or only work PT) so that they can go to school, and use FS's to feed their kids. I find that unacceptable!!

Welfare NEEDS to tighten their restrictions, or something! A BIG issue, is they make it TOO EASY to live on welfare for extended periods of time. They give you so much money, but if you had to go out in the real world to make that SAME money, then you start having to pay gas to get back and forth to work, childcare expenses show up, and you realize that working makes you less money than not working!


mehamil1
by on Jun. 20, 2012 at 2:16 PM

You could have mentioned it right in that short paragraph. But you allude to it being all the dems fault and Obama's fault when he took office even though the wheels were turning towards that disaster long before the changing of the guard. 

Quoting asfriend:

What makes you think that I am ignoring it?

Unemployment was always around 5% when the repubs were in charge of the Presidency and the Congress, it went up in 2007 when the Dems took control and then skyrocketed after Obama was elected and has stayed high until now, even not counting all the ones that they simply stopped counting.


Mommy_of_Riley
by Just Jess on Jun. 20, 2012 at 2:51 PM
I've lived both.

Currently we live on base.
But we got lucky. This base only has 45 base houses for under E-6
The wait list here is 9-11 months


Quoting gammie:

Quoting Mommy_of_Riley:




Do you live on base or off base?



When we moved every three years with the military we would live in temp. housing for 3 months the max, and only once we lived off base a year in Japan. But we always lived on base it was a lot cheaper.



We where married 8 years before we bought a New car.



.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Mommy_of_Riley
by Just Jess on Jun. 20, 2012 at 2:58 PM
BAS is the amount required to feed the military member. It is NOT meant to cover their family members.

It equals out to what 3 meals a day at the Chow Hall costs.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
numbr1wmn
by Nikki on Jun. 20, 2012 at 3:03 PM
1 mom liked this

What I find sad is that people are brainwashed to think they are entitled to OTHER people's money. FS is for a start not a permanent paycheck.  My family used FS when my sister and I were born till I was 2 ( I am a twin)  My dad worked 3 jobs and went to school to be an electrician.  Off FS at three and lived within our means. No new car, new tv, mechanical gadgets and food frozen that would last. 

Now people are foolishly having babies to stay on the system.  WE allow illegal immigrants federal money but the military gets cut Because of stupid reasons.

Those of FS that get cash for their cards (which they can)  sicken me!!!

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

 It's sad that you have been brainwashed to believe that

it didn't used to be that way, but it is now socially and politically acceptable to push that idealogy

Quoting gammie:

Quoting JakeandEmmasMom:




You two are so wrong that it is not even funny. What do think if company's would pay all their employes $20 a hour?

We would have pay more for everything and they will employ less!!!!

 


kailu1835
by Silver Member on Jun. 20, 2012 at 4:46 PM

It will hit everyone, regardless of who they are. The reality is that it is unsustainable, and cuts have to be made somewhere.  A lot of those cuts are going to be unsavory, but necessary.

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