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Military and Veteran Families

Last Modified: 12/15/2013

Benefits You Have Earned

"And just as our troops need your leadership and support, their families do as well. Because they sacrifice and serve this nation right alongside anyone who wears our uniform." -First Lady Michelle Obama

You served our country proudly and honorably, and we want to inform you that through our nutrition programs, you may be eligible for assistance to ensure you, your family, and fellow veterans have the assistance to ensure you have nutritious meals.

Below are FNS Programs that you May Be Eligible For:

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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP helps families buy nutritious food with an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card that is like a debit card. SNAP benefits can be used at stores across the country and at some farmer's markets. SNAP can help you and your family eat right when money is tight.

 

To be eligible, households must meet income tests. Combat pay, Hostile Fire pay, and Imminent Danger Pay are not counted as income for SNAP. All other pay and allowances are counted as income. 

Helpful ​Links

  • To see if your family might be eligible, click here.
  • To apply for SNAP benefits, click here.
  • To find authorized SNAP retailers in your area, click here.
bag of groceries
 

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

Through TEFAP, USDA provides food to State agencies, which in turn provide the food to local agencies – such as food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens.

Veterans who are undergoing difficult economic times may qualify to receive TEFAP foods for household distribution, and may certainly receive meals in congregate settings. 
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Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)

Veterans who live on Indian reservations or other approved areas may be eligible to participate in FDPIR. If interested, contact your Indian Tribal Organization or State agency.

worker at food bank preparing CSFP meal
 

Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)

CSFP works to improve the health of low-income seniors 60 years of age and older, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, other new mothers up to one year postpartum, infants, and children up to age six, by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA foods.  Veterans may qualify for CSFP foods, if the program is available in their area. 

*Individuals may not participate in CSFP and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children at the same time.

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The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

WIC provides nutritious food to low income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk. Participants also get information about healthy eating and referrals to health care and other social services.

 

WIC legislation and regulations also provide State agencies the option to exclude certain housing payments and other allowances provided to military personnel in determining WIC eligibility. These include:

  • -- Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)
  • -- Family Separation Housing (FSH)
  • -- Overseas Housing Allowances (OHA)
  • -- Overseas Continental U.S. (OCONUS) Cost-of-Living Allowances (COLA)
girl eating apple

The National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs

The National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs provide nutritious low cost or free meals to children attending participating schools and snacks at certain afterschool care programs.

 

For all Service Members:

  • Any in-kind benefit, such base housing, is not considered income.
  • Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance (FSSA) - By law, the FSSA is not counted as income in determining eligibility for free and reduced-price meals.
  • Department of Defense overseas schools are eligible to participate in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs; this extends the availability for free and reduced-price meals to children in families stationed overseas.
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Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)

Food That's In When School Is Out! During the school year, many children receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs. What happens when schools let out? The SFSP is designed to feed children breakfast and/or lunch during the summer at feeding sites that can include schools, churches, community centers, summer camps, Indian reservations, and more.

Free Nutrition and Physical Activity Resources

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MyPlate

MyPlate was developed by the USDA as an effort to promote healthy eating to consumers. The MyPlate icon is easy to understand and it helps to promote messages based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. You can visit www.choosemyplate.gov for healthy eating tips, recipes, resources, and games and contests for the whole family.

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Let's Move

Let's Move is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams. You can visit www.letsmove.gov for fun ideas on how to be more physically active and how to eat healthier.