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Military families use record number of food stamps

The use of food stamps by military families, military retirees and others who have on-base privileges has tripled since 2008.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 21, 2014 5:44PM

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyMilitary families, military retirees and others with shopping privileges on military bases redeemed nearly $104 million worth of food stamps at commissaries in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. That's a 5 percent increase from 2012 and the highest it's ever been.

Military Man © Stockbyte/SuperStockAccording to CNN Money, food stamp usage at military commissaries has more than tripled since the Great Recession in 2008.

That outpaces the growth in food stamp use by the general population, says CBS MoneyWatch.

"I'm amazed, but there's a very real need," Thomas Greer told CNN. Greer is a spokesman for Operation Homefront, a nonprofit that provides financial and emergency assistance to some of the country's lowest-paid service members.

Greer said that in 2013, Operation Homefront received 2,968 emergency requests for food help, nearly three times the number in 2008.

A number of factors reportedly have contributed to the upswing in military family food stamp usage.

  • Eligibility changes. More military families qualified for food stamps after some states lowered eligibility requirements during the recession.
  • Low pay. New soldiers earn about $20,000 annually. The government doesn't consider the value of government-provided housing when determining military families' eligibility for food stamps, according to Military OneSource, a Department of Defense-funded program.
  • Spousal unemployment. The unemployment rate for military spouses ages 18-24 was a whopping 30 percent in 2012. The economic climate and frequent relocations for military families have made it difficult for military spouses to find work, according to a 2013 military spouse survey.

Congress recently cut funding for the food stamp program -- which impacts military and civilian families. Meanwhile, Military Times reports that the Pentagon is considering raising prices at commissaries.

More on Money Talks News:

Feb 21, 2014 9:34PM

I have been in the military for over 20 years and I came in as an E-1 and I was forced to live within my means. A lot of kids these days at the E-1-E-4 level have 2 or 3 kids because they are not looking at the true cost of living. Walk through the junior enlisted parking lots on any base and you will see some nice rides all financed through the roof, They will have the latest fashion jeans, shirts and footwear, and designer purses as they proudly utilize their food stamps and whine that they don't have the money to make ends meet.

No one joins the Military to get rich but they make more than the average high school grad. stop breeding,live within your means, and make rank.

Feb 21, 2014 9:26PM

Free Medical

3 meals a day


Free Base housing

if married

extra money for each person.

I was in the Military for over 25 years, I never had a problem, yes I was enlisted.

This is a freaking joke, they aren't used to living without.

That's 20,000 of extra money to have fun with.

These young kids rush out and buy new car's, motorcycle's, and every new electronic device on the market.

Just go to any Military Exchange, it's like walking into Wal-Mart, but it's right there in your face.

Then these kids get credit cards, and charge everything.

They just don't care.

Now they are all bitching they don't have any money to buy food.

Please look at everything else they own before making your judgment.

They have learned to play the game, and they want you to fill sorry for them.

Most of these kids have more stuff then you can ever imagine.

I have seen all this first hand, and it will never stop.

The car dealers know how to work the system also, get the kid into a contract, and do a pay-roll deduction, which makes the kid look like he isn't getting paid anything at the end of the month.

When I was in the military, and someone did what these people are doing now, the chain of command got involved in a heart beat...

this was called managing your bills, and if you couldn't, can you say Article 15.

Feb 22, 2014 12:14AM
We should pay congress with food stamps. 
Feb 21, 2014 9:50PM
This story points out the error in granting food stamps to military families by failing to include as income the food and housing allowance this service members are paid monthly.  If they live on base, it also includes no-cost utilities for gas, water, electric and trash.  I am sure that some families will still qualify based on family size but most on the program today would not if this additional income was included in the qualification screening.  Too many are taking advantage of this program based on flawed qualification requirements.
I should add that income qualification criteria is determined by each state so it varies on where you live.  Some states don't include personal cars in the resource criteria either.
Feb 21, 2014 9:06PM

There is no draft these people are signing up for a job. The problem is we should not have troops in 60 countries . USA go home

Feb 21, 2014 10:37PM
It is a shame.  Things are more expensive now.  Prices in the commissary are up, but lower than the stores in town.  However, I tend to agree that people need to live within their means.  Good financial planning and budgeting will help.  Stay away from high priced items including cars, stereos and clothes.
Feb 21, 2014 11:29PM
Just before Valentine's Day  I was checking out at a dollar store and the clerk asked if I wanted to donate money to our military for Valentine's Day.  Scuse  me?  I think the world of our troops,but I'm not paying for dinners out and candy  when I can hardly afford  to shop at the dollar store!
Feb 21, 2014 9:51PM

The real shame is the number on SNAP that do not provide service to the country.  There should be service or work requirements associated with all forms of government assistance.  These service members are potentially putting there life on the line for the defense of the nation. 


Now what are the others that are receiving assistance doing?

Feb 21, 2014 10:11PM
Many folks not in the military are not doing so well also.
Feb 21, 2014 10:26PM

Half of the damned workforce is on food stamps and the other half dropped out of the workforce altogether.  Obamaville.

Feb 21, 2014 8:15PM
What a disgrace. A government that can't feed their own military families while being irresponsible with trillions of dollars in credit. That's bad. A welfare army on food stamps.
Feb 21, 2014 11:56PM
It not good,but we still send those aid checks out to our so called foreign friend,How much money does Israel need,or is it never enough .This has to stop for all country we help .We need the help more in the USA. good Day
Feb 21, 2014 9:20PM
I have been in the commissary in Virginia at Fort Lee and the selection of goods is fine but the prices are no better than any Wal Mart. The soldiers do not walk in and get stuff for free, that comes out of their pay check. It is a disgrace to know that our military personnel have to survive on EBT. And congress and the White House whose butts are being safeguarded by these men and women in have to be kidding.Shameful absolutely shameful.
Feb 21, 2014 8:33PM
One out of five American households are on food stamps--now called SNAP.  Around one out of seven of us as of last year. 
Feb 22, 2014 1:10AM
All planned out. In early 1970’s both political parties endorsed and released “Workforce 2000” plans starting with the Fortune 500 companies. Workforce 2000 and NAFTA is Americas contribution to the new global economy. Jack Welch, then CEO of GE designed the model and the rest of the big leaguers followed in his foot steps. He started sending “Low Tech” devices like toasters and coffee makers over to get the Chinese farmers out of their fields. Look where they are today. I remember it well working for a large aerospace company in So. Cal.
We attended a four hour presentation on how America was going to change. “Workforce 2000”. We were to become a service oriented country. How labor intensive work was going to be out sourced. How Chinas average pay scale was a whopping .35 cents per day. The man hours it took us to build one large airplane would be an equivalent cost to the most expensive BMW motorcar. Were all our stock holders and board of directors excited. The Demographics of America were also explained. Guess what? The Hispanic communities was going to be the major population in the LA basin area. That’s right. See where we are today. All part of the plan and don’t forget, all endorsed by both political parties. Then the whipshooding began. Jack Welch implemented a theme called, “Keeping the Ideas Coming”. Ref. March Fortune 500 article. With the threat, or inevitable loss of our jobs, he started a manipulation cooptation strategy to pick the employees brains and make them think they could compete and save their jobs/asses. Manufacturing Engineers and digital camera’s were used to pave the way for the Chinese farmers to help with their training. The CEO’s, corporate leaders and politicians are raking in all the benefits.
So when I hear and read about this new economy BS, remember our government has it all under control. The part I have trouble with is if people are not working and or making half of what they use to make, income tax revenue will drop as well. How dose a tax system expect to sustain and pay for basic services, afford a healthcare program and frequent handouts to the world in trouble?
In 1992 United Auto Workers union, (UAW) predicted that only 4% of the American workers will be represented by a union around 2016. Police, fire services and a few more government jobs will be represented to show the world America is still labor friendly.
As Americans Change so to speak and our earning power diminishes Americans will eventually take what they can get. Just like other third world counties did. Its Americas turn to become the stepchild.
And now Obama has brought in Jeffrey Immelt CEO from GE. Immelt cut his teeth under Jack Welch and Harry Stonesypher. GE was the model corporation which has led to American’s loosing their jobs. And now a Muslim in charge of Homeland Security. Amazing how everything predicted is coming to pass.
Wal-Mart has become the new commissary to America by design..
Now Wal-Mart is articulating the hiring of Veterans. Good idea. The same patriots whom our government and veterans administration plays “Hide the Pea” with when it comes to their benefits. Now talk about reducing veteran retirement benefits. Control again folks. These loyal and trained individuals would make for fine patriot soldiers when the sht hits the fan in America.
I believe the first clue to Globalization was when our Department of Weights and Measures was consider converting over to the Metrics System in the 70’s..They were laying out what has come to pass now. Many Presidents, many Administrations have had opportunity to shift gears. They didn’t. Then came the Euro idea. One world monetary system. Thank God we did not bite that apple.
Sad how all these article writers have just gone along with it too. If they did a serious “Cause Analysis” they would find a whole new prospective on this mess.
Invest back into America, Buy  “Beans, Blankets and Bullets.
God bless those who believe in him.
Feb 21, 2014 8:45PM
This must be a shocking revelation to all the people claiming government is subsidizing companies that pay their employees minimum wage. The very entity they are asking to raise the minimum wage is doing the same thing.
Feb 21, 2014 6:50PM
This is absolutely ridiculous.  These young people who put their lives on the line and are paid so little that they qualify for food stamps.  Spousal employment?  Why in the hell has the country gotten to the point where the mother is required to work outside the home just to make ends meet?  What is next?  You have to force labor your kids to work just to make the mortgage payment???   
Feb 21, 2014 11:36PM
I just can't reason it out why an average American couple can have more than two children when they have to struggle to survive.if you can't afford to keep a family,just quit having children and have a house cat or something like it.children can be high maintenance and they make a big hole in your pocket.Quit breeding like rabbits like Indian and Chinese people do.
Feb 22, 2014 1:31PM

Typical hypocrite democrats...   Complain about Walmart employees not being paid enough, and yet what about paying our troops a 'living' wage?   No, rather than pay fair wages to troops, they rather exercise CONTROL by making them dependent on government handouts (usually in return for votes).

This is why Social Security and military pay increase by under 2%, while Food stamp users have seen average benefits increase 20% a year.

It is time to end the double standard. 

Feb 21, 2014 11:23PM
Think our military has it bad?  Russia has it worse.
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