skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

More Military Families Using Food Stamps To Make Ends Meet

Defense Commissary Agency

Military Food Stamp graph

More military families are using food stamps to purchase basic staples like milk and bread, according to CNN.

Service members and their spouses redeemed almost $104 million worth of food stamps at base commissaries in fiscal year 2013.

The use of food stamps by military families has been on the upswing since 2008. (See graph from the Defense Commissary Agency above.)

One reason may be that more military families were able to qualify for food stamps during the Great Recession, when some states lowered the amount of money a family could earn and still get assistance - as Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association, explained to

"It was easier for some of those families right on the cusp to qualify."

Unemployment and underemployment among military spouses could be another reason for the increase in food stamp usage.

The 2013 Military Spouse Employment report found that service members' wives in the 18-24 age range had 30 percent unemployment rates.

Military spouses told the survey they both wanted and needed to work...

However, active duty military spouses are more likely to have moved within states, across states, and abroad, compared to their civilian and veteran counterparts.

The increased likelihood of moving from one geographic location to another further compounds economic issues for these families.

Still, Thomas Greer of Operation Homefront said he was surprised by the number of military families depending on assistance:

"I'm amazed, but there's a very real need."

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.


Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | February 17, 2014 at 11:21 a.m. ― 3 years, 1 month ago

"...some states lowered the amount of money a family could earn..." Shouldn't it read raised the amount and still received food stamps?
Military spouses have access to many of the same resources as their service-members. Some might receive the Post-9/11 GI Bill if their service-member is qualified to receive it -- and sets up an account for them. />Also, more than 1,900 institutions belong to the DoD-funded consortium of colleges and universities with flexible policies that allow dependents of service-members to complete their degrees (rather than just earn credits). Many credit-by-examination courses are offered at U.S. bases stateside and abroad. The Military Spouse Career Advancement accounts can mean up to $2,000 per year.
Complete the Free Application For Federal Student Aid [FAFSA] that tells you about Pell Grants, Perkins loans, state assistance, subsidized loans. Stanford Law School tuition is $0 for veterans.
The average mid-career earnings of a graduate from Colorado Springs, West Point or Annapolis is more than the mid-career earnings of a Stanford, Princeton or Harvard graduate.

( | suggest removal )