Oh, Snap! Food stamp cuts hit service member families and veterans

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

If Tea-Publicans do not care about taking food out of the mouths of children, the elderly and disabled, then how about a group of Americans they profess to care about: active duty military service members and veterans?

The Tea-Publican House action that stripped food stamp funding from a massive farm
bill threatens vital assistance for about 5,000 military families,
mostly from the junior enlisted ranks. DoD: 5,000 Military Families Losing Food Stamps:

A Department of Agriculture report last year showed that more than
5,000 of the 48 million Americans receiving Supplementary Nutritional
Assistance Program (food stamps) listed their employment status as
"active duty military," the Pentagon officials said.

"Military members who receive SNAP tend to be made up of members in
junior pay grades with larger than average household sizes," said Navy
Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman.

* * *

"It's a small population but it's a vulnerable population," Joye Raezer,
executive director of the National Military Families Association, said
of the active duty military families receiving food stamps.

* * *

Last year, $99 million in food stamps were cashed in at bases by
military families, disabled vets and others with military
identification, and more than $53 million in food stamps were cashed in
this year through June, according to Defense Commissary Agency data
provided to the Huffington Post.

And then there are the veterans for whom Tea-Publicans seem to think it is sufficient to say "Thank you for your service." You owe them more than an insincere "thank you."  Nearly 1 Million Vets Face Food Stamps Cut:

About 900,000 veterans and 5,000 active duty troops face cuts in
their food stamp benefits beginning Thursday as $5 billion is
automatically trimmed from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
(SNAP) program for low-income families.

"The coming benefit cut will reduce SNAP benefits, which are already
modest, for all households by 7 percent on average, or about $10 per
person per month," according to an analysis by the Center for Budget and
Policy Priorities.

"Nationwide, in any given month, a total of 900,000 veterans
nationwide lived in households that relied on SNAP to provide food for
their families in 2011," according to an analysis of census data, the
Center's report said.

* * *

Thousands of veterans from every state would be affected by the food stamp cuts, ranging from the 109,500 in Florida and 105,700 in Texas in
the SNAP program, to the 2,200 in North Dakota, according to the Center
for Budget and Policy Priorities.

For those Tea-Publicans who think this food stamp reduction is only a minor inconvenience, you are clueless about hunger in America. What $36 means to a family on food stamps:

Starting November 1, families who depend on food stamps will see their benefits cut as $5
billion in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
(SNAP) expires.

That means 47 million people — one out of seven Americans — will have to make do with less. And those aren't even the only cuts coming to SNAP.

* * *

So, what does $5 billion mean for the average family on food stamps?

Foodstampscuts

(Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)

Let's take a look at a family of four. Starting this month, they will get about $36 less in food assistance. That might not sound like a lot to people in the middle class. But to qualify for SNAP in the first place, you need to make less than $1,863 a month for a family of four (or $908 for an individual). Note that these are upper limits on net income; plenty of people who get SNAP benefits make far less.

The USDA offers four food budgets, ranging from "thrifty" to
"liberal." Its strictest budget recommends spending only $1.70 to $2 per
meal. That means a family of four now has two options: Eat 21 fewer
meals a month, or lower spending to less than $1.40 per person per meal
,
according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

"The idea that people can make up for this by shopping differently
just isn't realistic," Joel Berg, director of the New York City
Coalition Against Hunger, told the New York Daily News. "They can't and they won't. They'll go hungry and have less food."

And the foods they will be pushed toward probably won't be fresh fruits and vegetables. In the United States, poverty tracks strongly with obesity, which is why, The Atlantic's Chin Jou argued earlier this year, the cuts will be particularly devastating[.]

One alternative to SNAP are food banks and private charities — but many of them are already overwhelmed. Expect to see urgent appeals from your local community food banks and soup kitchens in the coming weeks.

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