According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, transition period out of military service is a high-risk time for veterans to experience food insecurity
Bipartisan bill will require the DoD to expand SNAP and WIC resources for military families during transitioning to civilian life
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff is introducing bipartisan legislation to ensure military servicemembers and their families have access to food assistance programs during the transition from military to civilian life.
Sens. Ossoff and Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) introduced the bicameral, bipartisan Transitioning Servicemember Food Security Act to help servicemembers and their families access nutrition assistance programs during their transition from military to civilian life.
Currently, the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program (TAP) goes over various benefits such as educational assistance benefits, relocation assistance, medical coverage and home loan and housing assistance benefits, but is not required to go over any nutrition program assistance.
The bipartisan bill would require the DOD’s Transition Assistance Program to also include information about SNAP and WIC programs, helping reduce food insecurity during the transition from military to civilian life.
“It is unacceptable that Georgia’s junior enlisted personnel and military families struggle to afford groceries,” Sen. Ossoff said. “That’s why I’m working across the aisle to ensure those who serve our country never have to worry about putting food on the table.”
“As Servicemembers and their families transition to civilian life, Congress must do everything possible to ensure their success. It is unacceptable that the men and women who serve our country worry about putting food on the table,” said Rep. Strickland. “I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the bipartisan Transitioning Servicemember Food Security Act to take care of military families at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and across the nation.”
According to the RAND Corporation, 14% of active-duty service members classified as food insecure reported using food assistance. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that approximately 11% of households with veterans experience food insecurity, compared to 7.7% of non-veteran households.
In Georgia, there are about 45,000 veterans receiving SNAP benefits.
The bipartisan bill is backed by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) National Legislative Service, the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN), and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.
“Transition from the military can come with uncertainties and challenges across a range of individual needs. For this reason, transitioning service members and families should be equipped with all the knowledge and resources available to ensure the switch back to civilian life is as smooth as possible,”said Brittany Dymond, Associate Director, VFW National Legislative Service. “The VFW commends and thanks Senators Ossoff and Rounds for working in a bipartisan manner to ensure that those who are transitioning receive information and counseling on food security programs during the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program. By communicating these resources upstream, we hope to see mitigated instances of food insecurity among veterans and their families.”
“MFAN research shows that the transition from service is a time of acute vulnerability,” said Shannon Razsadin, President and Executive Director of the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN). “As the TAP curriculum continues to modernize to ensure it is reflective of service members’ needs – from those who served a few years to those who reach retirement — education on federal and local benefits is critical. While data indicate that most service members are food secure, we must identify as many avenues as possible to connect those who are struggling to the support they need. MFAN commends Senators Ossoff and Rounds on this bipartisan effort to strengthen military family well-being.”
“We are deeply concerned that many of America’s veterans are struggling with food insecurity and not receiving assistance they deserve from federal assistance programs like SNAP,” said Abby J. Leibman, President & CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. “Providing resources and counseling to transitioning servicemembers about federal nutrition benefits will help address the unique needs and barriers to food insecurity facing the men and women who served our country. We are proud to support the bipartisan Transitioning Servicemember Food Security Act and thank Senators Ossoff and Rounds for their leadership in championing this important legislation. Together, we can ensure that all those who served our country can feed themselves and their families.”
Sen. Ossoff continues working to ensure that military servicemembers and their families in Georgia and nationwide have access to resources that enable them to live healthy lives.
In 2021, Sen. Ossoff worked to address food insecurity for Georgia’s junior enlisted military servicemembers and their families. This year, his bipartisan bill to help young military families in Georgia afford housing in their communities passed the U.S. Senate.
Click here to read the bipartisan Transitioning Servicemember Food Security Act.