As our country prepares to honor our nation’s veterans, Empower Missouri and Missouri Budget Project are calling on Congress to support veterans by passing a farm bill that protects and strengthens the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps more than 37,000 Missouri veterans with low incomes – or eight percent of all Missouri vets – put food on their tables.
Formerly known as food stamps, SNAP is one of the nation’s best anti-poverty programs. SNAP helps over 750,000 Missourians get back on their feet and pay for groceries, including seniors, people with disabilities, and many workers who are in between jobs or working a job with unstable hours and few benefits.
This is particularly important for low-income veterans, who may be struggling to find a job, working in low-wage jobs, or have disabilities. Veterans often face unique barriers as they seek to resume or rebuild their civilian lives and start new careers. For example, young veterans who leave active duty may have little work experience beyond military service or may have trouble finding a job that matches their skills. Young recent male veterans have higher unemployment rates and lower labor force participation rates than similar civilians, which can make it harder for them to afford enough to eat. Nationally, new data shows that SNAP helps almost 1.4 million low-income veterans across the country.
“No veteran should go hungry in the United States of America,” said Amy Blouin, Executive Director of the Missouri Budget Project. “That’s why, this Veterans Day, we’re calling on Congress to support people who have bravely served our nation in uniform by passing a farm bill that protects and strengthens SNAP.”
While SNAP’s benefits are clear, the program’s future is not. In June, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan farm bill that protects SNAP for veterans and others who are struggling, and strengthens programs that can help veterans on SNAP get and keep a good-paying job. In contrast, the version of the bill approved by the U.S. House would cause many veterans and others to lose food assistance through expanded harsh work requirements. Legislators from both bodies are currently working to reach agreement on a final farm bill.
“SNAP reduces hunger, promotes school success, improves health outcomes for children, and supports sustained employment for the many Missourians working in low wages jobs that have irregular schedules and limited benefits,” said Jeanette Mott Oxford, executive director of Empower Missouri. “We thank Senators Blunt and McCaskill for voting for the bipartisan Senate bill and urge them to work with their colleagues to ensure the final bill includes the Senate SNAP provisions to protect and strengthen SNAP.”
The Missouri Budget Project is nonprofit public policy organization that
analyzes state budget, tax, health and economic issues.
Empower Missouri advocates for the well-being of all Missourians
through civic leadership, education, and research.