Congresswoman Susan Davis Introduces the Military Hunger Prevention Act

Nov 17, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) moved to aid military families being blocked from benefits that help them put food on the table. Rep. Davis, the Ranking Member of the Military Personnel Subcommittee, introduced the Military Hunger Prevention Act to ensure eligibility for food supplement benefits for servicemembers and their families.

“Those who make great personal sacrifices in service to our country should not have to struggle to provide regular, nutritious meals to their families,” said Rep. Davis, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. “Unfortunately, an unintended policy barrier prevents military families struggling with food insecurity from getting help from available federal nutrition assistance programs.”

“For far too long, food insecurity among currently serving military families has been a real and painful reality,” Abby J. Leibman, President and CEO, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. “Barriers to access of government safety net programs have left tens of thousands of military families struggling to put nutritious food on the table, turning for emergency assistance to food pantries on or near the military base. MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger believes that those who make great personal sacrifices in service to our country should not have to struggle to provide regular, nutritious meals to their families. MAZON recognizes the extraordinary leadership of Congresswoman Davis to address this issue with the legislation she introduced to remove a major barrier impacting military families.” 

MAZON has endorsed Davis’s bill.

Military families are able to access various federal nutrition assistance programs, and many rely on these programs to make ends meet and put nutritious food on the table. In practice, far too many military families find themselves ineligible for such assistance because the way military compensation and allowances are considered.

The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), which is provided as a monthly, regionally adjusted allowance to servicemembers living off-base or in privatized housing, is currently counted as income for the purposes of determining eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps).

The Military Hunger Prevention Act would prevent housing allowances from being used to determine eligibility for SNAP.

Young servicemembers and their children are forced to resort to emergency assistance through community food pantries. There are emergency food distribution programs that operate throughout the San Diego region to serve the needs of military families stationed there.