U.S. Army Suggests Soldiers Go on Food Stamps Amid Inflation

by Taylor Cunningham

With inflation surging and salaries remaining the same, soldiers are struggling to put food on their tables. So through the guidance of a new Financial Readiness Program, the U.S. Army is suggesting that those families apply for food stamps.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP, is a benefit offered to low-income Americans. And according to the Army, many “service members and their families may be eligible.” As part of the program, officials have released information that includes the SNAP website and phone number.

“With inflation affecting everything from gas prices to groceries to rent, some soldiers and their families are finding it harder to get by on the budgets they’ve set and used before,” Sergeant Major Michael Grinston said. “Soldiers of all ranks can seek guidance, assistance, and advice through the Army’s Financial Readiness Program.”

The program also points soldiers to Financial Frontline, which is an online portal that offers resources, including financial literacy training, educational videos on managing debt, and more. Through the Financial Readiness Program, service members can also seek free financial counseling.

The program also asks soldiers who qualify to seek relief through the government’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

“If you join the military and have a government student loan, the U.S. government will pay it off in 10 years through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program,” it reads.

The Pentagon Says that ‘24% of Enlisted’ Army Soldiers are ‘Food Insecure’

Soldiers have struggled with food insecurity in the past. However, the recent economy has pushed more military families into poverty. According to the Pentagon, “24% of enlisted personnel” are currently struggling to afford groceries.

The Finacial Readiness Program is helping to bridge the gap today, but Mackenzie Eaglen, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute believes the U.S. Army needs to take more action.

“While food stamps are a Band-Aid, they’re also an admission that basic pay for enlisted troops and their families is too low – further exacerbated by unyielding inflation causing paychecks to shrink more,” she said. “A better solution is to abandon rosy inflation assumptions, boost basic pay, and request a defense topline above inflation each year so forces and families have predictability and stability.”

The guidance comes as newly released federal inflation data shows that prices had the largest jump in over four decades.

“The food index increased 10.9 percent over the last year, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending May 1979,” the BLS wrote on Aug. 11. “The food at home index rose 13.1 percent over the last 12 months, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending March 1979,” BLS said. “The index for other food at home rose 15.8 percent and the index for cereals and bakery products increased 15.0 percent over the year. The remaining major grocery store food groups posted increases ranging from 9.3 percent (fruits and vegetables) to 14.9 percent (dairy and related products).”