Showing posts with label food stamps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food stamps. Show all posts

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Food stamp work rule amid pandemic and ability to get food in doubt

For the most vulnerable among Americans, being able to get food should be the least of their problems.

Governors plead for food stamp flexibility amid pandemic

Associated Press
April 6, 2020

There are only a handful of states in the country where food aid recipients can buy groceries online

PHOENIX -- Yvonne Knight, who has respiratory problems that make her especially vulnerable in the coronavirus pandemic, can't buy groceries online with her food stamps — even though each trip to the store is now a risky endeavor.

Going out to buy food terrifies the 38-year-old woman with cerebral palsy, but she is one of millions of people who receive food aid through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that can't be used in flexible ways.
The increased need for food aid and calls to make it more flexible come directly on the heels of a stalled Trump administration attempt to purge an estimated 700,000 people from SNAP rolls. The changes would have taken away states' ability to waive a rule that able-bodied adults without dependents show a certain number of hours worked per month. A court blocked the changes, and the USDA vowed to appeal.
read it here

Trump administration delays new food stamp work rule amid pandemic

NBC 3 News
by Alexis Goree
April 13th 2020

LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Before the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of Nevadans were at risk of losing their food stamps starting this month.

Now, because of the national emergency, the Trump administration is holding off on any change.

Unemployment numbers have now skyrocketed across the United States. The coronavirus forced the closure of non-essential businesses in an effort to stop the spread.

“Now, obviously given what unemployment has done, we cannot reasonably expect folks to engage in work or work-related activity now,“ said Julie Balderson with Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.

Due to the national emergency, the White House is now delaying their pursuit of a new work rule for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients, also know and SNAP.
read it here

But the truth is, a Federal Judge had to order it first.

Federal judge blocks Trump rule that could have cut food stamps for nearly 700,000 people amid coronavirus

By Veronica Stracqualursi and Tami Luhby
March 14, 2020

(CNN)A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Trump administration federal rule from going into effect next month that could have seen nearly 700,000 people lose access to food stamps, noting in part a need for flexibility as state and federal officials work to address nutritional needs during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Especially now, as a global pandemic poses widespread health risks, guaranteeing that government officials at both the federal and state levels have flexibility to address the nutritional needs of residents and ensure their well-being through programs like SNAP, is essential," Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the US District Court in Washington, DC, wrote as part of her opinion issued Friday.

In an order handed down Friday, the Howell granted a preliminary injunction and a stay on portions of a federal rule from the US Department of Agriculture. The rule, announced in December, would require more food stamp recipients to work in order to receive benefits by limiting states' ability to waive existing work mandates.
read it here

Friday, January 18, 2019

120,000 Florida veterans may go hungry if shutdown continues

120,000 Florida Veterans Might Lose Their Food Stamps If Government Shutdown Continues

Danielle Prieur
January 17, 2019
“I just recently started coming to Soldiers’ Angels. I was homeless at the time and went from there into the HUD-VASH program. And that’s when I became aware of Soldiers’ Angels.”

One of the federal programs affected by the partial government shutdown is the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP. If the shutdown continues into March, funding for the program could run out. And in Florida that means a lot of low-income and homeless veterans may have to fend for themselves. More veterans in Florida rely on food stamps than any other state.
Florida has the largest number of veterans on food stamps. The USDA has guaranteed food stamps through February. FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
Every third Friday, volunteers at the VA mobile food pantry in Baldwin Park pack supplies for veterans. An older veteran shows junior ROTC kids how to pack clear gallon bags with carrots and potatoes and brown paper bags full of pasta.

A line of older sedans and minivans has started to form while the volunteers were working. Cristina Mercado who runs the VA pantry says donations from nonprofits Soldiers’ Angels and Second Harvest can only feed 200 veterans so spots have been going fast.

“Within 2 hours, 153 people signed up on our list and within a day and a half the list was completely filled up. And then within a few days after that, our wait list also filled up. So this was the quickest [sign-up] so far.”

Mercado says demand for the food bank has grown since the fall. That’s partly because of an influx of veterans coming from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
read more here

Monday, January 14, 2019

Veterans in other news

Iraq Vet Jailed For Angry Voicemails Will Remain Locked Up

Starting just after Thanksgiving, Eric Benson began leaving voicemails on the work line for his private psychiatrist, demanding medication and treatment for his anxiety. The psychiatrist terminated Benson from his practice.

Food Stamp Programs to Remain Available Through February for Troops, Vets
In 2016, a total of more than 44 million low-income Americans received SNAP benefits, according to the Agriculture Department.The number of active-duty military households currently participating in SNAP has been difficult to track, but the most recent estimate by the Government Accounting Office in 2016 put the number at about 23,000.

‘Things are slipping’ as Coast Guard families brace for missed paychecks

Stars and Stripes 
“I have two teenagers and an 8-year-old. All I care about is just getting them fed and having gas to get to work so I can keep that paycheck,” said Murdock, 34. “It’s hard, because they know. The kids know about what’s going on. They ask for things and I have to tell them it’s too tight right now.”Petty Officer 1st Class Ron Murdock is one of roughly 41,000 Coast Guard members bracing for the partial government shutdown to continue through the weekend and to deny them paychecks on Tuesday.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Feed homeless veterans for months or another parade?

We have a lot of parades for veterans all over the country. 

We also have veterans who are homeless and dumpster dive for food. 

We have military families on food stamps. 

How about we dump the Trump parade and actually do some good with the money?
News Week

Based on a new estimate reported Thursday projecting President Donald Trump’s military parade will cost $92 million to $80 million more than originally projected, every homeless veteran in the country could be fed three meals per day for almost nine months.
The military showcase is set to take place through the streets of Washington, D.C., on November 10 and will include about eight tanks, helicopters, fighter jets, other armored vehicles and troops. 

The Department of Defense will provide $50 million and other agencies like the Department of Homeland Security will cover the remaining $42 million, a U.S. defense official with knowledge of the assessment told CNBC. The total price tag is $80 more than the original $12 million the Pentagon estimated it would cost last month.
read more here

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Pentagon Does Not Know How Many Military Families Go Hungry?

Pentagon Doesn't Track How Many Military Families Go Hungry: Report
by Amy Bushatz
Jul 21, 2016

Whether a military family qualifies for food stamps depends strongly on where they are stationed, since individual states set some of their own income guidelines. For example, at both Camp Pendleton, California, and Fort Hood, Texas, troops need a minimum household size of six to qualify, even though income between those locations varies widely thanks to the Basic Allowance for Housing rates.
Authorized patrons at the Fort McCoy Commissary check out their grocery items. (Photo by Geneve N. Mankel)
Defense Department officials have incomplete information on how many military families are using food assistance programs because the department doesn't completely track the data or work with other departments to do so, a new report from the Government Accountability Office finds.

While some data exist on how many service members use programs such as food stamps, known as SNAP, or the Women and Infant Children (WIC) program, which are both controlled by the Department of Agriculture, the Pentagon only loosely tracks the programs it administers, the report says.

Additionally, no single office at the DoD is in charge of food assistance tracking, it says.

"The Department of Defense has some data on service members' use of food assistance programs it administers, but it does not know the extent that service members use such programs," the report summary says. "Also no office within DOD is monitoring food assistance needs, such as through survey data."

Little to no information was found by auditors on service members' use of the myriad of other food assistance programs such as local food banks and free and reduced lunches for children in non-DoD schools. That's a problem military officials must tackle before they are able to accurately understand how hunger impacts troops and their families, the report says.
read more here

Monday, January 18, 2016

Commissary Food Stamp Use Down in 2015

Military Commissary Food Stamp Use Drops
Posted by Amy Bushatz
JANUARY 13, 2016

Food stamp use in the military’s grocery store system dropped by about 6 percent last year, down from $84.5 million in fiscal year 2014 to $79.5 million in fiscal year 2015.
The decline comes after a big drop between 2013 and 2014 when use went down by 18 percent. That fall, however, can be blamed at least in part on a reduction in the benefit, known as SNAP, at the end of fiscal 2013.
We could spend a lot of time quibbling over what these numbers mean, but we probably wouldn’t come up with many answers. Did usage drop because there are fewer families in the military? The latest numbers show a drop of about 102,000 military family members between 2013 and 2014. Could it be because fewer people know that they can register for SNAP? Is it because fewer people are using SNAP at the commissary and instead taking it elsewhere? Are the bulk of these commissary transactions even active duty families, or are they other types of shoppers (guard, reserve and retiree)? (For what it’s worth, I’ve been trying to get an answer to that question for about a year.)
read more here

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Why Are "Several Food Pantries" Needed For Military Families?

Fast food workers want $15 an hour while soldiers go to food pantry? Does this make sense to anyone? The worst thing is, none of this is new.

Food pantries support those in need all year
Killeen Daily Herald
By Jennise Colin-Ventura
November 29, 2015

Many families struggle financially to provide food, shelter and expenses for their household, especially during the holidays. And of course, if you are trying to save up for a few gifts under the tree, your finances are pretty much drained.

There are several food pantries in the area to help you and your family.

Operation Phantom Support and the Sgt. Leevon Ritter Support your Troops Resale Center: 317 E. Avenue C, Killeen. Call 254-233-1441 or go to and

Anyone in need can visit this pantry once a month at no charge. Plus, anyone with a military ID can pay $10 or more a month and visit the food pantry twice a week. The food pantry is open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All is needed is photo or military ID and basic household information. Food selection varies for each visit but you may get meat, eggs, canned and dry goods as well as fruits and vegetables. They also have a thrift shop inside so when you need clothes or furniture, you can shop there, especially when they have their “Fill A Bag” sale. They also offer a program called “Operation Phantom Cakes,” which offers free birthday cakes for children up to 18 years old. If you would like to donate cake mixes, frosting or money for this program and/or to the organization, call 254-233-1441.
read more here and find more places to turn to
None of this is new. This report is from 2013
Celebration of Love brings holiday cheer to Fort Hood
Fort Hood Sentinel “Some Soldiers may need a little extra help getting ready for the holiday season, so we try to provide something that would help out during this time,” said Michael Ashford, the president and executive director of Celebration of Love. “We provide the makings for a Christmas meal, which includes a turkey, a pie, four cans of green beans, four cans of corn, two boxes of mac and cheese, apple sauce, milk and rice.”

You can find a lot more reports from "Armed Forces Day Armed With Food Stamps" post on Wounded Times May 15, 2008. And this report is from 1994.
As Military Pay Slips Behind, Poverty Invades the Ranks
New York Times
Published: June 12, 1994

WASHINGTON, June 11— Like other airmen at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, 21-year-old Jason Edwards worries about tensions far away in North Korea that could erupt into fighting and involve his supply base.

But Airman Edwards has more immediate concerns, too. He is worried about how to feed his 22-year-old wife, Beth, and their two small children on his total pay and allowances of $1,330 a month. In desperation, the Edwardses last month began drawing $228 a month in food stamps to get by.

"It's a very tight squeeze for us," Mrs. Edwards said. "We haven't bought any steaks since we've been here, and whenever I want to cook something with ham, I substitute Spam for it."

In a trend that has senior Pentagon officials deeply troubled, an increasing number of military families are turning to food stamps to make ends meet. Three-quarters of America's enlisted forces earn less than $30,000 a year, and the gap between civilian and military wages is growing.

To be sure, no one ever joined the military to get rich. But neither did they expect to have to go on welfare. Military officials worry that a growing demand for food stamps and other Government assistance may signal larger personnel problems in a culture that preaches self-reliance and self-discipline.
The truth is we don't take care of them while they are in the military and we sure as hell don't take care of them when they come home. Just goes to show that no political side is really grateful for those willing to sacrifice their lives to retain the freedoms the rest of us enjoy, including demanding more money than they make!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Military Commissary Shoppers used $130.6 million in food stamps 2013

Just wanted to share this in case you didn't care when food stamps were cut and didn't know many of the people on them are in the military and veterans.
Food Stamp, WIC, Debit Terminals Down at Many Commissaries
by Amy Bushatz
Dec 16, 2014
Commissary shoppers used $130.6 million in food stamps, officially known as the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), in fiscal 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the Defense Department. About $29 million in WIC benefits were redeemed that same year.

Some stateside commissaries are unable to process food stamps, and some WIC and debit card payments after the security certificate in store PIN pad terminals expired Dec. 7, shutting down the system.

The problem, which was not a data security breach and did not put any patron payment information at risk, impacted Defense Commissary Agency stores as well as some civilian grocers across the U.S., officials said.

"On December 7 thousands of older model PIN pads produced by Hypercom were unable to process debit card, EBT and electronic WIC transactions because the terminals' cryptographic certificate expired," Kevin Robinson, a DeCA spokesman, said in a statement. "As of Dec. 14, approximately 60 percent of DeCA's total PIN pads are able to process all of our customer's electronic transactions requiring a PIN."

The problem has the biggest impact on commissary shoppers who want to use electronic benefits transfer (EBT) food stamp benefits.

Stores where terminals are down can still run debit cards as credit cards, but are unable to give cash back. They can also process Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) transactions on paper. However, patrons who want to use food stamp benefits will need to do so at a different store or wait until the system is repaired.
read more here

Sunday, December 14, 2014

What is in the defense budget?

A 1% pay raise for the troops? Gee do you think they can get off food stamps with that?

What these critics may not realize is that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is also increasingly relied upon by members of the U.S. armed forces, with patrons of military commissaries using food stamps to purchase $103.6 million worth of groceries in fiscal 2013.

That's a 5 percent rise from 2012, and almost double the $52.9 million spent in 2009.

That's a faster pace of growth than the general population, since overall SNAP spending rose just 51 percent from 2009 through 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Senate approves giant defense policy bill
The Associated Press
By Donna Cassata
PUBLISHED: Saturday, December 13, 2014

WASHINGTON – Congress on Friday sent President Barack Obama a massive defense policy bill that endorses his stepped-up military campaign of airstrikes, and training of Iraqis and moderate Syrian rebels in the war against Islamic State militants.

The Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill, which authorizes funds for basic military operations, including construction of ships, aircraft and weapons, as well as a 1 percent pay raise for the troops.

The vote was 89-11.

The measure also served as a catch-all for legislation that was generally supported by Congress but stalled as the end of the session neared.

A coalition of defense hawks and Western state Republicans overcame objections by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and several other GOP senators, who were furious that unrelated provisions to designate 250,000 acres of new, federally protected wilderness were added to the popular legislation dedicated to military operations.

The measure would authorize the training and equipping of moderate Syrian rebels battling the extremists, a mandate that lasts for two years. It also would provide $5 billion to train Iraqis to counter the militants who brutally rule large sections of Iraq and Syria.

“American air power had changed the momentum on the ground somewhat and given moderates in the region an opportunity to regroup, but ISIS cannot be defeated without an opposing force to take the fight to it on the ground,” said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
read more here

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Buffalo New York Food Banks: 35,000 are veterans or currently in the military

Food 2 Families: Veterans A Growing Group In Need of Help
Erica Brecher
December 3, 2014
Billoni said 27 percent of people the Food Bank serves in a four-county region, or some 35,000 people, are veterans or servicemembers currently in the military.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It's not always who you'd expect receiving help from the Food Bank.

One growing group of people finding themselves in need is our own U.S. veterans.

"Well, for a man, it's not a good feeling," said Vietnam veteran Frank Kirkwood. "Lost employment. And especially in this particular area, and then my age too, you know I'm 59 years old."

The Veterans One-Stop Center in Buffalo, which helps veterans find the resources they need to get back their economic stability and emotional well-being, helped put Kirkwood in touch with Post 77, a member recipient of the Food Bank of Western New York.

"Sometimes there's a little bit more month left at the end of the food," said Roger Woodworth, president and CEO of the One-Stop Center.

Woodworth recognizes the need to help post-Vietnam and post 9/11 veterans growing.

He says putting them in touch with places like the Food Bank takes care of a short-term need that can put them on the path of meeting long term goals.

"When you look at providing a little bit of economic stability in the form of food supplements, or a hit around the holiday time with food, that helps make choices easier. It helps with economic well-being and emotional well-being," he explained.

He says 60 percent of post-Vietnam era veterans coming into the One-Stop Center are at risk of homelessness, and those are often the same folks struggling to feed themselves.
read more here

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Land of the free but do we deserve to be?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 29, 2014

We have the best military in the world. No doubt about it. Patriots obtained our freedom and every generation after them retained it. They filled up cemetery plots during combat and afterwards because we didn't care enough about what they needed from us.

We don't take care of them when they are serving or when they come home. We are all enjoying the rights and freedoms they make sure we have but at the end of the day, we need to answer some questions honestly.

Why are soldiers and families on food stamps?
About five percent more shoppers used food stamps at commissaries in 2013 than used them in 2012. But the increase is actually a sign that use is leveling off instead of quickly increasing as it had been before. Between 2011 and 2012 it went up 13 percent. And back between 2008 and 2009 it went up 70 percent, according to figures from DeCA.

I’m conflicted about this. On the one hand, surely we should be paying our military members enough that food stamps are out of the question. On the other hand, is the need for food stamps really as high as it seems?

The story originally broke last fall here and finally made its way to CNN over Presidents Day weekend.

The food stamp increase doesn’t track with the rate of use of the Woman and Infant Children (WIC) subsidy. Army Times reported in October that those numbers were trending steadily downward. About 6 percent fewer military families used WIC at the commissary in 2013 than in 2012.
“On occasion, customers with food-stamp EBT cards found themselves in the wrong line, and we’d have to direct them to use one of the registers with an EBT terminal,” said Gary Hensley, director of the commissary at Fort Benning, Ga., in an announcement from the Defense Commissary Agency. The Fort Benning commissary rang up more than $1.1 million in purchases in the food stamp redemption program in 2007, tops among commissaries.
Why are they getting layoff notices in Afghanistan?
The study believes our newest veterans have financial hardships that make accessing sufficient food more difficult compared to the average citizen.

“We found that 27 percent of veterans who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan don’t have consistent access to sufficient food,” said University of Minnesota researcher Rachel Widome, Ph.D.,. “That’s drastically higher than the prevalence of food insecurity in the U.S., which is 14.5 percent.”

Research was conducted with the Minneapolis Department of Veterans Affairs, and surveyed 922 veteran records.

The Army says it will soon notify 550 majors that they must leave the service by next spring as part of a budget-driven downsizing of the service.

As the Army looks to reduce its force to 490,000 by the end of fiscal year 2015 and 450,000 by the end of FY ’17, a military personnel official from Fort Hood said Tuesday that 213 captains within III Corps were recently identified by the Army Officer Separation Board to transition from the service in the coming months. At Fort Hood, 91 captains were affected by the OSB, according to Jay Whitaker, the senior military personnel officer, or G1, with Fort Hood’s Mission Support Element.

Fiscal 2016 sequestration marks ‘breaking point’ Everyone wants the U.S. to lead the way in resolving global conflicts and crises, he said, not necessarily supplying the preponderance of forces, but involvement to some extent. The nagging question is, “Do we want to do that or not?” In fiscal year 2016, Odierno pointed out that the budget will go down $9 billion from what it is now. That would have a “significant degradation” on the force “because I cannot take people out fast enough.”

Why do the wounded get this kind of treatment?

The memo encourages "dispositions/discharges as soon as possible." Hospital spokesperson Sandy Dean explained this direction, saying, "We are are encouraging health care providers to be more efficient when handling their paperwork instead of writing discharge orders later in the day ... no patient has been or will be discharged before it is medically appropriate."

With cases of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health problems at an all-time high, Dean says civilian caregivers in the hospital's in-patient mental health section are furloughed, reducing beds there from 28 to 22.
The news of veterans getting the shaft at the VA seemed like such a shock yet if you remember, since they didn't remind you, none of it was new. Congress gave us decades of promises to fix what the VA got wrong and support what they got right. Here's a few more stories the national press forgot about.

Why are veterans still finding when they turn to the VA for help healing PTSD, it isn't there?
Howard County Veterans' Service Officer Ross Waltemath estimated out of the up to 10,000 veterans who live in Kokomo and the surrounding area, which has the highest number of veterans per capita in Indiana, around 2,000 have mental-health disorders.

“We've got a lot of vets running around Howard County with real problems,” he said.

But when local veterans seek help for their disorder, they discover it's not easy to find.

Waltemath said there's a two-month wait to see a psychiatrist or mental-health worker at the VA clinics in Indianapolis, Marion or Fort Wayne, where most area veterans end up going for treatment.

He said with the influx of service members coming back with PTSD and other mental illnesses, area VA hospitals aren't equipped to handle the spike in cases.

“The VA health care system is completely overloaded,” he said. “Mental health is one of the areas that's totally overwhelmed all our medical facilities. No clinic is designed or manned anymore to deal with the volumes of people out there.”

Once vets do eventually get in to see a therapist or psychologist, there's a good chance they won't have another appointment for a few months, Waltemath said.

“I've never heard of a VA turn a guy away, but if you have mental-health issues and you get in once every three months, how big of a help is it really to you?” he said.

The problem goes far beyond long waits to get into to see a VA therapist.

One of the biggest issues is the lack of psychiatrists and psychologists who have any military experience or a real understanding of how to properly treat PTSD and traumatic brain injury, said Ken Gardner, an Air Force veteran and clinical therapist at Kokomo Family Psychiatric Center.

He said for most veterans, it's tough to speak to a mental-health worker about their disorder who hasn't served and doesn't understand military culture.

“It's really difficult to relate to a therapist who is fresh out of school and who doesn't understand the experience of the vet,” Gardner said.

Chris Fidler, the local facilitator for the non-profit Vet 2 Vet peer group, said the lack of providers with military experience is one of the biggest obstacles for veterans seeking help.

“People in the military are thrown into something they're not prepared for,” he said. “The military tries to prepare you for it, but who can ever really be prepared to go and kill people and see the horrors that they see? So anybody that tells a combat veteran they understand what they're going through is lying. They haven't been there, and they don't understand.”

Capt. Scott Edwards, a state behavioral health officer and the chief psychologist for the Indiana National Guard, said many mental-health workers at VA clinics not only lack military experience but don't know how to properly treat PTSD.

“The VA providers are supposed to know how to do these treatments, but what I've found is that they aren't very proficient,” he said. “We can't always assume that the VA is offering the appropriate treatment.”

For many vets, the only treatment they get from a VA behavioral health provider is a bag of prescription meds, said veteran's service officer Waltemath.

The situation is even worse for veterans trying to find help at civilian hospitals and behavioral-health centers.

Waltemath said there are hardly any local providers who have any military experience or know how to properly treat PTSD and other mental-health issues related to combat.

“If you have a clinician who can't even spell the word 'deployment,' these vets aren't going to come back to you,” Waltemath said.
read more of this here
Are they right? Yes but it turns out only 13% of civilian mental health providers understand military culture.
A Rand Corp. survey of 522 psychiatrists, psychologists and licensed clinical social workers found that just 13 percent met the study's criteria for "cultural competency," meaning they understood military mores, language and background, and delivered appropriate care for illnesses unique to the military, such as combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

We read the end result far too often. The result of the military refusing to adapt programs that actually work instead of kicking thousands of them out with bad paper discharges every year. Instead of trying to convince the public these soldiers were "damaged" before they enlisted so we aren't supposed to care or hold any of the leaders accountable for any of it. They are unable to accept responsibility for their own mental health testing failing if that actually is the reason as much as they refuse to accept responsibility for their own programs being inadequate for the non-deployed yet they tell redeployed they were trained to be resilient.

Then the VA itself lacks properly trained psychologists and psychiatrists to treat those able to overcome the stigma the military filled them with. Lacking the help they need adds to the stress they are already under but the top off is when members of the press twist words to make it seem as if veterans turning to the VA are only looking for money. Nice little trick being played on millions of veterans with PTSD.

The question we need to start answering is, do we deserve to have the best military in the world? Do we deserve the men and women stepping up to retain our freedom or not? Seems like everyone says stuff like "I know my rights" and scream about freedom of speech and religion but then never seem to understand where those rights come from. Our troops serving today and veterans who served yesterday made sure your rights were defended so you could use the right to ignore them or fight for them.

Do we deserve them or not? When do we start acting like it? When do we take the time to fight for them?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Texas National Guardsmen Sent to Border Without Paychecks?

Texas National Guard: No evidence that soldiers have gone to food bank for help
Austin American-Statesman
By Jeremy Schwartz
Published: August 30, 2014
“Active duty soldiers being forced to turn to charities to get a meal is heartbreaking,” state Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, said in a statement. “These brave men and women have apparently been sent on a mission without accommodating for their most basic needs. We need to find immediate solutions for these hungry soldiers.”

AUSTIN, Texas (MCT) — The Texas National Guard has identified 50 soldiers deployed to the Rio Grande Valley who might be in need of financial assistance — including food help — because of a gap in receiving their first paycheck since being activated, and Texas Democrats are seizing on the issue.

But neither a local food bank nor National Guard officials said they had evidence that any soldiers have sought food assistance.

“Maybe they come in and they just don’t tell us they’re National Guard,” said Omar Ramirez, Food Bank RGV’s manager of communications and advocacy.

After Rio Grande Valley television station KGBT reported Thursday that needy troops “turned to” the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley for help, state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, the Democratic nominee for governor, said she would visit the border Saturday to deliver food for the National Guard.

“It’s disgraceful that the men and women of our National Guard deployed to protect our border are forced to go to food banks,” Davis said in a statement.

According to Lt. Col. Joanne MacGregor, a spokeswoman for the Texas National Guard, a “proactive” family assistance coordinator “contacted the Rio Grande Valley food bank to see what resources were potentially available.”

According to Guard officials, the 50 soldiers in question started their deployment to the border around Aug. 11, just after the cutoff for the next pay period, and would have to wait until Sept. 5 to receive their first paycheck. Their first week or so was spent at Camp Swift in Bastrop for training, and they received three meals a day there.
read more here

Monday, August 18, 2014

Troops on food stamps news to NBC finally?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 18, 2014

Days like this I really think about changing the title of this site to simply WTF News!

Wounded Times Forgotten News. What did you think I meant? Can't fool you!

The headline "Hungry Heroes: 25 Percent of Military Families Seek Food Aid" by Miranda Leitsinger should have added the word "still" but it seems the reporter had no clue of how long this has all been going on.
"Defense Department spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen said in a statement that the Pentagon was reviewing the survey and was “concerned with anything that impacts the wellness and readiness of service members and families. The work of Feeding America and other organizations will help the department amplify the DOD resources available to service members and families, particularly in high-cost locations.”

He added that the Pentagon “recognizes that personal financial readiness of service members and their families must be maintained to sustain mission readiness” and offers personal financial management counselors, as well as other tools and services, to help personnel get a clear understanding of their finances. Military stores – like exchanges and commissaries – provide savings to troops, he said."

Later in the article was this
“Lowest income military families are living paycheck to paycheck, and even those paychecks aren't enough to make ends meet,” said Shana Hazan, a director at Jewish Family Service (JFS) of San Diego, which began holding food distributions at military locations in early 2007. As JFS makes its yearly plans, “I don't think we ever questioned whether the need will remain in terms of food insecurity among military families. That is just a base of assumption for us.”

So how did the Department of Defense spokesperson get away with just making a claim like that?

They knew in 1994 when the Commander-in-Chief was President Clinton
As Military Pay Slips Behind, Poverty Invades the Ranks
But a 1992 survey by the Defense and Agriculture Departments found that about 3 percent of the 1.7 million service members qualified for food stamps and that 1 percent, or about 17,000 people, received them monthly. The Agriculture Department manages the food stamp program.

The Defense Department said the total value of food stamps redeemed at military commissaries increased to $27.4 million last year from $24.5 million in 1992. That amount included those redeemed by retired military recipients. Food donation centers are bustling at bases from Hawaii to Florida.

And they knew when the Commander-in-Chief was President Bush
Military families on food stamps? It's not an urban myth. About 25,000 families of servicemen and women are eligible, and this may be an underestimate, since the most recent Defense Department report on the financial condition of the armed forces -- from 1999 -- found that 40 percent of lower-ranking soldiers face "substantial financial difficulties." Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, reports hearing from constituents that the Army now includes applications for food stamps in its orientation packet for new recruits.
A 10-percent spike in food-stamp redemptions at military commissaries is likely a lingering aftereffect of Hurricane Katrina and other storms, commissary officials said.

Across the commissary system, food-stamp redemptions were up by about $2.3 million, to $26.2 million in fiscal 2006 compared to the previous year.

Officials have not definitively verified the causes for the spike, said Defense Commissary Agency spokesman Kevin Robinson, but three stores affected by Hurricane Katrina and other storms accounted for about 83 percent of the increase, at levels that were five or six times the previous year’s redemptions for those stores.

Those commissaries, which usually are not close to the top of the list when it comes to quantities of food stamps, were in the top five of all commissaries. Fort Polk, La., had the highest total of all.

At Fort Polk, where a number of people were evacuated after the storm, the commissary rang up $973,544 worth of food-stamp redemptions in fiscal 2006, five times the previous year’s total of $190,682.

The fiscal years run from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30; Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in August 2005.

The New Orleans Naval Air Station store, which is relatively small, redeemed $687,585 worth of food stamps in fiscal 2006, nearly six times its 2005 total of $116,329. It ranked number five among commissaries for food-stamp redemptions in 2006.

“Feeding America’s Families Act of 2007,” a bill introduced by Reps. James McGovern, D-Mass., and Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., has a provision that would exclude from food-stamp eligibility calculations any additional payment received by a service member as the result of deployment to a designated combat zone, for the duration of the member’s deployment. The additional pay must be the result of deployment to or service in the combat zone.

The proposal likely will be considered as lawmakers craft a new farm bill, which provides spending authority for federal nutrition programs. The current law will expire at the end of this fiscal year.

The administration requested this exclusion in its budget proposal earlier this year, noting that combat pays could reduce a family’s benefits or make them ineligible. “This policy change recognizes this problem and would ensure that military families are not penalized for doing their civic duty,” according to the Department of Agriculture’s farm bill proposal released in January.

The proposal has been a part of the budget for several years and was first enacted in the 2005 Appropriations Act, but it has been handled on a recurring annual basis. The new farm bill proposal would make the annual policy fix permanent, agriculture officials stated.

Most military families are not eligible for food stamps because of their housing allowance, said Joyce Raezer, chief operating officer of the National Military Family Association.

Keep in mind that all of these articles are from the same post in 2008 Armed Forces Day Armed with Food Stamps.

That post was followed up by this one in 2008.
Using food stamps now easier at commissaries
The new checkout system is dubbed the Commissary Advanced Resale Transaction System, or CARTS.

Previously, commissaries had to use stand-alone, state-provided systems to process the benefit cards, and the terminals were installed on only one or two registers. Food stamp benefits are not received overseas.

“On occasion, customers with food-stamp EBT cards found themselves in the wrong line, and we’d have to direct them to use one of the registers with an EBT terminal,” said Gary Hensley, director of the commissary at Fort Benning, Ga., in an announcement from the Defense Commissary Agency. The Fort Benning commissary rang up more than $1.1 million in purchases in the food stamp redemption program in 2007, tops among commissaries.

The best one is the letter written to the Huffington Post by a veteran
Afghanistan veteran on food stamps has message for Congress I'm a 35-Year-Old Veteran On Food Stamps
Huffington Post
Jason Kirell
Combat veteran, former reporter and blogger
Posted: 09/20/2013

My name is Jason. I turned 35 less than a week ago. My first job was maintenance work at a public pool when I was 17. I worked 40-hours a week while I was in college. I've never gone longer than six months without employment in my life and I just spent the last three years in the military, one of which consisted of a combat tour of Afghanistan.

Oh, and I'm now on food stamps. Since June, as a matter of fact.

Why am I on food stamps?

The same reason everyone on food stamps is on food stamps: because I would very much enjoy not starving.

I mean, if that's okay with you:

Mr. or Mrs. Republican congressman.
Mr. or Mrs. Conservative commentator.
Mr. or Mrs. "welfare queen" letter-to-the-editor author.
Mr. or Mrs. "fiscal conservative, reason-based" libertarian.
I do apologize for burdening you on the checkout line with real-life images of American-style poverty. I know you probably believe the only true starving people in the world have flies buzzing around their eyes while they wallow away, near-lifeless in gutters.

Hate to burst the bubble, but those people don't live in this country.

I do. And millions like me. Millions of people in poverty who fall into three categories.
Maybe if NBC didn't forget about all of this all these years along with the rest of the "national news" stations, they wouldn't have to still report on veterans and military families going hungry all this time and maybe, just maybe they would have been able to confront the Department of Defense spokesperson with some actual facts to get some actual answers thus causing some actual change to happen for the people the article was putting in the headline.

Charity says military use of food pantries has been rising for years
Stars and Stripes
By Travis J. Tritten
Published: August 19, 2014

WASHINGTON — The number of military families who struggle to put food on the table has been growing in the years since the Great Recession, the nation’s largest network of soup kitchens and food pantries said Tuesday.

That increase convinced the Feeding America charity to study servicemembers who use the food assistance network, leading to a landmark report released Monday that found about one in four active-duty and reserve troops or someone in their household sought out charitable meals or groceries over the past year.

The Hunger in America report and an interview with the nationwide charity indicate troops are increasingly falling into a segment of the working poor that makes too little to consistently afford food but too much to qualify for government aid such as food stamps.
read more here

Thursday, May 8, 2014

27 percent of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans going hungry

Next time you hear a politician talking about cutting food stamps remember this one.
Study: 1 in 4 Afghanistan/Iraq Vets Need Food Help

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- New research by the University of Minnesota has found both men and women who served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan wars are in greater need of food assistance.

The study believes our newest veterans have financial hardships that make accessing sufficient food more difficult compared to the average citizen.

“We found that 27 percent of veterans who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan don’t have consistent access to sufficient food,” said University of Minnesota researcher Rachel Widome, Ph.D.,. “That’s drastically higher than the prevalence of food insecurity in the U.S., which is 14.5 percent.”

Research was conducted with the Minneapolis Department of Veterans Affairs, and surveyed 922 veteran records.
read more here

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Micheal Barrett doesn't get it

Top enlisted Marine pens open letter after testimony angers troops
Stars and Stripes
21 minutes ago

What started as a hard-charging Marine comment to Congress has turned into a public relations emergency for Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Micheal Barrett.

Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel on Wednesday, Barrett was making the case that personnel costs needed to be reined in to maintain readiness — as all the services have in recent testimony — but went a step further by saying that lower pay would actually improve discipline within the Corps.

“I truly believe it will raise discipline,” Barrett said. “You’ll have better spending habits. You won’t be so wasteful.”

He told lawmakers that if the service didn’t check growth on personnel costs, “we will become an entitlement-based, a health care provider-based Corps, and not a warfighting organization.”

His comments lit up Facebook and other social media sites. Marines and their supporters derided foreign aid, spoke of themselves or comrades getting state or federal financial aid — “read that as welfare” — and chided Marine Corps leadership as being out of touch.

“Says the SMMC who is knocking down $8K+ a month, living in gov’t quarters, etc. You have forgotten your roots and have no clue how some of your Marines are living,” said one commenter on Facebook.
read more here

April 11, 2014

Marine Sgt. Major wants less pay for troops?

Sgt. Maj. Of The Marine Corps Says Lower Pay For Marines “Will Raise Discipline”, Make Them Less Wasteful 
The highest enlisted member of the United States Marine Corps said that lowering salary of Marines will “raise discipline” and make Marines less wasteful. The comments come as a debate in Washington talks about cutting active duty member pay in order to make sharp budget cuts at the Department of Defense. The comments came as he testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The base salary for the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps is $7,816.20 per month.

When you are done screaming, read more here Maybe they should start with his pay?

He doesn't seem to know that a lot of his Marines and Soldiers are living on food stamps.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Marine Sgt. Major wants less pay for troops?

Sgt. Maj. Of The Marine Corps Says Lower Pay For Marines “Will Raise Discipline”, Make Them Less Wasteful
The highest enlisted member of the United States Marine Corps said that lowering salary of Marines will “raise discipline” and make Marines less wasteful. The comments come as a debate in Washington talks about cutting active duty member pay in order to make sharp budget cuts at the Department of Defense. The comments came as he testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The base salary for the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps is $7,816.20 per month.

When you are done screaming, read more here Maybe they should start with his pay?

He doesn't seem to know that a lot of his Marines and Soldiers are living on food stamps.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Commissary Food Stamps Use At New High

Commissary Food Stamps Use At New High
Spouse Buzz
Spouse & Family News
by Amy Bushatz
February 18, 2014

More troops and military families redeemed food stamps at military commissaries last year than ever before, according to statistics from the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) — but is it really the dire situation it seems?

About five percent more shoppers used food stamps at commissaries in 2013 than used them in 2012. But the increase is actually a sign that use is leveling off instead of quickly increasing as it had been before. Between 2011 and 2012 it went up 13 percent. And back between 2008 and 2009 it went up 70 percent, according to figures from DeCA.

I’m conflicted about this. On the one hand, surely we should be paying our military members enough that food stamps are out of the question. On the other hand, is the need for food stamps really as high as it seems?

The story originally broke last fall here and finally made its way to CNN over Presidents Day weekend.

The food stamp increase doesn’t track with the rate of use of the Woman and Infant Children (WIC) subsidy. Army Times reported in October that those numbers were trending steadily downward. About 6 percent fewer military families used WIC at the commissary in 2013 than in 2012.
read more here

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

When politicians pretend to care, people pay the price

When politicians pretend to care, people pay the price
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 15, 2014

The controversy surrounding New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has left many in the media focusing on the scandal while avoiding the most important aspect of all. Christie showed compassion after Hurricane Sandy. He also showed that politics meant nothing to him when as a Republican, he showed appreciation for President Obama and put the people first.

That meant a lot to people across the country because frankly, most Americans are fed up with everything being political. Most of us are not focused on politics. Our political differences are in the proper perspective. In other words, they are not at the top of our to do list. Taking care of the country and the people of this nation matter a hell of a lot more than taking political sides.

The Christie scandals go much deeper because all of the accusations along with the outcomes robbed us of the thought someone in office said what most of us believe. We are stronger when we work together.

When we hear a politician say that unemployment insurance coverage doesn't need to be extended for the long term unemployed, that says they don't care if we can pay our bills and take care of our families or not. We also remember during the election we heard the same folks in congress scream about the lack of jobs even though it was there job to come up with bills to put us back to work.

We also heard that they do not even think about the veterans discharged from the military without jobs to support their families afterwards or the fact that many of them are unemployed.
Figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the jobless rate for Iraq and Afghanistan vets was 10 percent in October, down slightly from the 10.1 percent rate in September, but the same as the 10 percent recorded on Veterans Day 2012.

The VA says now the rate of unemployed veterans is 7.3%.

Did members of congress think of them? No. Even though the military is downsizing the ranks leaving thousands of out on their own and will increase over the next few years.

Did members of congress think of the troops when they cut food stamps? No they didn't. It is a safe bet to assume they didn't have a clue how bad it was for them but food banks and charities did. Imagine being in Afghanistan risking your life while your family back home has to live off food stamps and charities to eat.

A Fort Hood area charity just changed its name to reflect their mission. Operation Once in a Lifetime changed their name to Operation Phantom Support.

On average, about 600 people a week come through the pantry, impacting about 1,500 people through the food provided.

That is just from one Fort Hood area charity.

When members of congress said they wanted to kill the Affordable Care Act instead of fix it, they told us it didn't matter to them if we were able to go to the doctor without going into bankruptcy. We notice they had plenty of time to fix what was wrong instead of just trying to kill the bill. Now they complain it is bad but never once apologized to us for not fixing what we needed.

They also didn't bother with a tiny detail that while there are over 21 million veterans in this country (21,978,000) 8.76 million are enrolled and only 3.74 million veterans receive disability compensation.

Where do members of congress think these veterans get healthcare from when even they admit most veterans entitled to VA benefits won't go to the VA?

As bad as it has been for average Americans just trying to make ends meet, think of how hard it has been for military families and veterans. None of this has been good but people in Washington decided they just didn't have to care anymore. Much like Christie ended up showing the people of New Jersey that they really didn't matter as much as he pretended they did.

The media fails to see all they have been missing but the public has been shutting off their broadcasts and canceling subscriptions because they don't pay attention to what matters to us either.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Congress doesn't want to talk about veterans paying debts

Congress doesn't want to talk about veterans paying debts
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 29, 2013

The Defense Budget for 2001 before 9-11 was $329 billion. 2002 it was A $350.7 billion. 2003 $396.8 billion was requested. The money for two wars went up after that. No one thought to pay for any of it. No one thought about the men and women they would be sending to fight these wars or taking care of them when they became veterans. It was all borrowed money along with the lives borrowed to fight.

The VA budget has gone up but what Congress doesn't want us to think about is the simple fact. 22,328,000 veterans in the US as of 9-30-12. As of March of 2013 the VA had 8.76 million veterans in their Health Care System but were only compensating 3.61 disabled veterans.

What happened to the others? What happened to veterans serving this country but do not seek anything in return? Do they get sick? Do they deal with wounds no one can see like PTSD and TBI on their own refusing to go to the VA?

We don't want to talk about military/veteran families on food stamps when Congress cut the budget.
About 900,000 veterans and 5,000 active duty troops face cuts in their food stamp benefits beginning Thursday as $5 billion is automatically trimmed from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program for low-income families.

"The coming benefit cut will reduce SNAP benefits, which are already modest, for all households by 7 percent on average, or about $10 per person per month," according to an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.

We don't want to talk about veterans being long term unemployed when Congress cut them off. In a report from May of 2013 the Bureau of Labor Statistics had 18-24 year old veterans at over 20% followed by 11% "Post 9/11 veterans" with many of the "long term" unemployed.

We don't want to talk about millions of veterans needing true affordable healthcare insurance when Congress was doing all in their power to kill the Act instead of doing all in their power to make sure it worked.

When members of Congress shut down the government over health insurance, some went to memorials to stage scenes of pretend outrage over them being closed. As we look at the facts of what the Congress does not want us to remember, it is clear the damage done belongs to them. Now they want to make it even worse.

They decided that aside from the cuts they have already done, it was necessary to go after one more. Military Retirement.
That item would produce some $6 billion in savings by shaving a percentage point off annual cost-of-living adjustments, and it would apply only to military pensions. Not all military pensions — just the retirement paid to veterans younger than 62.
First they sent troops into Afghanistan and then into Iraq but didn't fund the wars. Now they don't want to fund what these men and women thought was part of the deal. Why did congress do it? Because the debt was so high and someone had to pay for it. So yet again, it is the citizens of this country stepping up to fight the battles and veterans paying the price for doing it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Congress goes on vacation, veterans go hungry

Congress goes on vacation, veterans go hungry
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 12, 2013

Congress is getting ready to head out of Washington again. Frankly few will even notice considering their total lack of delivering on doing their jobs to take care of this country. The troops and veterans however did not get excuses. They didn't get to go home on the weekends or get paid for not working most of the time. Members of congress seem to fear political opponents more than they take pride in their work on behalf of Americans. It is a shame but the dirty rotten shame is how little they notice their hatchet approach to the needy in this country include veterans.

(Huffington Post)
If I got preachy on the right thing to do for all, this would take all day. I am just going to let the numbers speak. These are the numbers they don't want you thinking about when they whine about the need to cut social services like food stamps and unemployment. We're heading into Christmas but also a harsh winter. Keep that in mind for the rest of this.

Unemployment rate for veterans who have served since 9/11 stood at 10 percent, with 246,000 out of work.

About 900,000 veterans and 5,000 active duty troops face cuts in their food stamp benefits beginning Thursday as $5 billion is automatically trimmed from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program for low-income families.

Department of Veterans Affairs claims waiting to be delivered on adds to these numbers. As of December 7, 2013 693,857 veterans have pending claims and wait for the money to live on. 395,358 are waiting in the backlog with 40% of those claims coming from veterans waiting with their original claim.. OEF and OIF veterans are 22% of the backlog and 21% of the original claims. Gulf War veterans are 21% of the backlog and 23% but Vietnam veterans are the majority of both claim groups. 37% of the total and 38% of the backlog.

Remind members of congress that while they are too afraid to do the right thing, the veterans never feared to go where congress sent them to fight the wars. If members of congress cannot do the right thing for this country they risked their lives for, which includes everyone, then these politicians need to be in the unemployment line.

I almost forgot that 100,000 recent war veterans have been kicked out under bad paper discharges too. They get nothing.