Ahead of Veterans Day, the California Association of Food Banks Urges Congress to Protect Food Assistance for Veterans
November 9, 2018
As the nation prepares to observe Veterans Day, the California Association of Food Banks is calling on Congress to support veterans by passing a farm bill that protects and strengthens the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, CalFresh in California). According to new data released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, SNAP helps almost 1.4 million low-income veterans across the country to put food on the table, including 97,000 veterans in California.
SNAP is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program and California’s first line of defense against hunger. SNAP helps 4 million low-income Californians make ends meet and afford food, including seniors, children, working families, 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 for low wages, 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. In addition, 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.
Although the benefits of SNAP are clear, the program’s future remains less so. The bi-partisan Senate farm bill 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 harsh expanded work requirements.
As members of both houses work to reach an agreement on a final farm bill, the bipartisan Senate bill affirms what millions of people across the country know to be true: SNAP reduces hunger and poverty, and protecting and strengthening SNAP—not cutting it—is the right way forward. We thank Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris for voting for the Senate farm bill and urge them to continue working with their colleagues to ensure that the final farm bill protects and strengthens SNAP by championing the SNAP provisions included in the bi-partisan Senate bill.