Almost 1.4 million veterans, more than 64,000 in New York State, live in households that participate in SNAP (formerly food stamps), finds a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The 1.4 million figure, an annual average for the 2015-2017 period, represents veterans who received SNAP at any point during the previous year. For low-income veterans, which may be unemployed, working in low-wage jobs, or have disabilities, SNAP provides essential support that enables them to purchase nutritious food for their families. Nationwide, SNAP is a powerful anti-hunger and anti-poverty tool: it lifted 8.4 million people above the poverty line in 2015, including 3.8 million children.
About 20 percent of households receiving help through the charitable food assistance network (which includes food banks, pantries, and shelters) include a veteran, according to a study from Feeding America. Another recent study found that while veterans overall have similar rates of food insecurity as civilians, veterans who served since 1975 have a greater risk of food insecurity.
On average, veterans are less likely to participate in SNAP than the overall population, but many veterans who are most likely to be food insecure, including those who are young, less educated, or unemployed, are more likely than other veterans to participate. For veterans struggling to overcome obstacles to feed their families, SNAP makes a crucial difference.