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Food Stamps Help Georgia Veterans

With several military bases in Georgia, it’s no surprise that Georgia has more military veterans than 42 other states. More than 614,000 veterans live in Georgia. For many of them, food stamps are a critical lifeline.

Across the country, 1.2 million veterans use food stamps, also known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). In Georgia, about 7% of all veterans use food stamps, or about 45,000 people, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

For low-income veterans, who may be unemployed, working in low-wage jobs, or have disabilities, SNAP provides an essential support that enables them to purchase nutritious food for their families. Nationwide, SNAP is a powerful anti-hunger and anti-poverty tool: it lifted 6.6 million people above the poverty line in 2017, including 3.1 million children.

For veterans struggling to overcome obstacles to feed their families, SNAP makes a crucial difference. On average, low-income veterans are less likely to participate in SNAP than the low-income U.S. population, but many veterans who are most likely to be food insecure, including those who are young, less educated, or unemployed, are more likely than other veterans to participate. One study found about 1 in 4 low-income veterans and nearly 1 in 3 food-insecure veterans participated in SNAP in the previous year.

In some cases, veterans are more likely to be considered low income, for a variety of factors that include a lack of skills outside of the military, employers who undervalue military experience, as well as mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Veterans may face barriers to employment such as little work experience beyond military service, trouble finding employment that matches their skills, discrimination by employers, or lack of access to support services (such as military-to-civilian transition services or veteran hiring services). Younger veterans may be highly skilled but civilian employers may undervalue their military experience, leading to a disproportionate share who hold jobs for which they are overqualified for compared to younger non-veterans with similar skills. In addition to experiencing more job dissatisfaction and turnover as a result, some veterans may only be offered low-wage jobs, which can make it difficult for them to meet their basic needs.

Some veterans also face challenges from physical and mental health conditions related to their service that can affect their well-being. For example, some conditions that are more prevalent among returning recent veterans, such as traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder, have been linked to negative outcomes such as reduced labor force participation, increased risk of poor physical and mental health, and worse quality of life including difficulty with community reintegration

For any Georgia veteran seeking assistance, Wholesome Wave Georgia is here to help. Our Georgia SNAP Connection program helps Georgians apply for benefits they need, such as SNAP, Medicaid, and more. Follow this link to learn more and to find the contact information so you can reach out to us for assistance.

Additionally, our Georgia Fresh For Less program makes fresh, local food more affordable by matching SNAP dollars at local farmers markets, farm stands, and more. For every $5 you spend on fruits and vegetables using SNAP/EBT, you will receive $10 worth of produce. You can learn more about Georgia Fresh for Less here.

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