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.
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