November 9, 2018

Ron Deutsch, Executive Director of FPI
518.469.6769 |

Sherry Tomasky, Director of Public Affairs of Hunger Solutions New York
518.414.6769 |

New York State Food Security Advocates Urge Congress to Protect Food Assistance for Veterans

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Helps Nearly 64,000 of New York’s Low-Income Veterans Put Food on Their Tables

As the nation prepares to observe Veterans Day, Hunger Solutions New York and the Fiscal Policy Institute are calling on Congress to support veterans by passing a farm bill that protects and strengthens the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which new data shows helps almost 1.4 million low-income veterans across the country put food on their tables, including 64,000 in New York State.

SNAP is one of the nation’s best anti-poverty programs. SNAP helps more than 2.7 million New Yorkers 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.

“Our lawmakers must be able to agree that, in the United States of America, no veteran should go hungry,” said Sherry Tomasky, Director of Public Affairs at Hunger Solutions New York. “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.”

Although the benefits of SNAP are clear, the program’s future remains less so. The Farm Bill passed on a bipartisan basis by the U.S. Senate in June 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. Members of both houses are currently working to reach agreement on a final Farm Bill, but President Trump, as recently as yesterday, expressed strong support for the House proposal to take away food assistance from people who don’t meet a rigid work requirement.

“The bipartisan Farm Bill passed by the Senate 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,” said Ron Deutsch, Executive Director at the Fiscal Policy Institute. “We thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for voting for the Senate farm bill and urge them to work with their colleagues in the House to ensure that the final farm bill is based on the Senate’s SNAP provisions.”

Press release is available here.