Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Military Service Members Struggle To Feed Their Families

In July 2016, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that the Department of Defense (DOD) was not fully collecting or analyzing data on how many service members were in need of food assistance or enrolled in federal programs such as SNAP and WIC. The GAO ALSO found troubling signs that some military families were in need. For example, nearly 1 in 4 children at DOD schools are eligible for free meals, and about 23,000 active-duty service members rely on SNAP benefits. That number tends to draw from a particular slice of the military: lower-ranking enlisted members with children.

An enlisted service member, for example, starts out earning $1,449 per month. In a family with three children, that salary could make them eligible to receive SNAP benefits. The Pentagon said it agreed with the GAO recommendations – but nearly a year later, it hasn't changed how it tracks the issue. A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment on whether specific offices cited in the GAO report have made specific changes or had changes underway in response to the report. But he added, "They have read it and they are certainly taking those recommendations into consideration."

Source: NPR, 4/19/17, Feeding Military Families

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