Some of the growth in soldiers' redemption of food stamps reflects the weak economic recovery, especially for spouses looking for jobs. In 2012, there was a 30% unemployment rate among spouses off active-duty military who were 18 to 24 years old, according to the Military Officers Association of America, which released the survey last week. [...]That means military families, right at the edge of food stamp eligibility, would have been hit especially hard by eligibility cuts sought by House Republicans. And Alan Pyke notes that:
During the recession, some states lowered eligibility for food stamps, making it easier to qualify. That could account for some of the growth in use by active-duty military, said Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association.
Retired military servicemen and women who joined up after 9/11 have a 10 percent unemployment rate, which also contributes to the elevated food stamp figures at DOD commissaries, and nearly a million working-age veterans lived in poverty in 2010.Military families are not different from other families in their need to eat, but the contrast between the $104 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits we know these families—so celebrated by Republicans when it's time to send people to war—used in 2013 and the stories Republicans tell about the supposed moochers they're trying to cut from food stamps is telling. And you shouldn't have to join the military for Republicans to give lip service to the idea that you deserve to have enough to eat.
Despite elevated need, veterans have not been spared from the successive waves of food stamp cuts imposed by Congress in recent months. The automatic cuts that came into effect in November took a bite out of the food budgets for 900,000 U.S. veterans. Over 486,000 of those veteran food stamp recipients live in states affected by the most recent cut to the program enacted as part of the farm bill, according to figures from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.