by Kristen Griffin
In a report issued on Monday, the Huffington Post found that Congress’ push to cut spending on supportive programs like food stamps would have a disastrous effect on veterans and active duty service members.
Recently, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or more commonly known as the food stamp program, has come under fire with such egregious abuses that have fueled the call for drastic cuts. Further, some Senators, in support of slashing the supportive program, cite that these types of aid garner long-term reliance. In short, some believe that the prevalence of aid “makes it okay” for families to rely on food stamps instead of trying to fix their situation.
The prejudices against those who desperately need food stamps and other supportive programs are rampant. However, what the Huffington Post report uncovered is that a surprising group of hardworking Americans rely on food stamps. This group will undoubtedly change the face of what the average American thinks of what a food stamp recipient looks like as well as the trajectory of the food stamp funding battle.
Veterans and active duty service members are one of the largest growing populations that need assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is a financial assistance program provided by the federal government that allows struggling families to purchase food.
According to data compiled by the Huffington Post, 1.5 million veteran households are using SNAP. The sharp increase of veterans or other military families relying on food stamps is right in line with what is happening across the board: more families are struggling to make ends meet because of the recovering economy and families who may have never needed assistance before are looking for help.
Compounding the issue further is that many veterans who recently returned from Iraq or Afghanistan may also have returned with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent them from working or continuing their service.
As of 2011, more than 46 million Americans received food stamps.
On Tuesday, the Senate will vote on the Farm Bill, an omnibus piece of legislation that is voted on or renewed every five years that includes the proposed cuts to food stamps. However, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) offered up a potential solution to the food stamp controversy in the form of an amendment that targets the legitimate abuses of the SNAP system.