More than a dozen advocacy groups, including MOAA, asked congressional leadership last month to help more military families qualify for federal nutrition assistance by removing their Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) from income calculations.
The current calculation for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) “creates an artificial and unnecessary barrier for military families,” reads a letter sent last month to majority and minority leaders in both the House and Senate. “While civilian Americans scramble to stock their kitchens (during the COVID-19 pandemic), thousands of low-income military families are turning to food pantries for aid to put food on the table.”
Several coronavirus-connected factors have stressed the financial situations of some of the most vulnerable military families, the letter points out:
- The overall economic downturn has made military spouses – already an underemployed demographic – more susceptible to layoffs or pay cuts.
- Closures of schools and child care centers have made it difficult for parents in dual-income families to continue working.
- Thousands of military families trapped between PCS moves by DoD’s stop-movement order have faced additional expenses, from multiple rent or mortgage payments to storage costs.
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Removing BAH from SNAP calculations “would ensure that more military families qualify for SNAP, reducing their food insecurity, eliminating unnecessary stress and anxiety for the service member, and thereby contributing to optimal mission readiness,” the letter states.
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