The military community can utilize lots of wonderful programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is no different. It’s a food stamps program offering groceries to families in need, including any military families that are financially burdened.
It was reported that the commissaries saw a 6 percent drop of food stamps usage in 2015’s fiscal year!
Breaking it down per fiscal year from 2014 to 2015 in numbers, it went from $84.5 million to $79.5 million.
The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) shared more information in a SpouseBuzz report that evaluates the figures dating back to 2010. It shows increases in SNAP dollars used from 2010 to 2013, but then there has been a steady decline from 2013 on. SpouseBuzz indicates that a reduction in the food stamps benefit could be the culprit in the drop from 2013 to 2014. But, what is the reason for the continued decline?
It was also posed in the article that a number of factors could play a part of the food stamps decline and that the topic is open for discussion. The question I ask you is: what can we do about it?
My suggestion is that we could share the food stamps program to the military families around us. One of the factors mentioned is that perhaps, not a lot of new families knows about the food stamps benefit.
The United States Department of Agriculture even has a special military and veteran families webpage that evaluates the different food stamps programs. They also have a great quote on there that I wanted to share.
You served our country proudly and honorably, and we want to inform you that through our nutrition programs, you may be eligible for assistance to ensure you, your family and fellow veterans have the assistance to ensure you have nutritious meals.
So, check it out to see if it fits you or pass it along to other families in your community. Referring back to above, the SNAP food stamps program is what can be utilized at local commissaries. It’s easy to see if you qualify. All you need to do is follow the prompts on their Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool here.
Before you start the online tool, gather as many appropriate documents and information as you can like your earnings amount, rent/mortgage payments, outside expenses (daycare), applicable bills (utility, medial, etc.) and VA payments.
Keep in mind that the tool online isn’t an application and families must apply in person at a local SNAP office location. Each state operates a bit differently and with the tool, you might get directed to another page.
For example, I’m located in Virginia. When I said where I’m from, I get passed along to Virginia’s website. With that said, each state has their own application. Once you are pre-screened, find your state using this link to get started with the actual application process. There you can also find the nearest office to you to drop off all your appropriate paperwork within your state’s web page.
The SNAP page has another separate resource that finds local retailers that has the food stamps program. Using SNAP is easy and is operated the same way as a debit card. The card is used at authorized retailers. We know the commissary is one great retailer! One speculation of mine about why the commissary food stamps usage dropped is maybe military families are using different retailers.
Whatever the reason, we can’t forget about the SNAP food stamps program for military families. Together, we can pass along the resource and share with our military friends. We never know when a family is in need, so the best way to spread awareness is to talk about it.