Update on the Department of Defense (DoD) Subsistence Supplemental
Allowance for Members of the Armed Forces
Signed March 29, 2001
Subject: Update on the Department of Defense (DoD) Subsistence
Supplemental Allowance for Members of the Armed Forces
To: Regional Directors / Food Stamp Program
In November 2000, we provided you with a legislative summary of a provision
enacted into law on October 30, 2000, that requires DoD to provide certain
members of the Armed Forces with a special allowance to partially address
the issue of enlisted members relying on food stamps to make ends meet.
To implement the law, DoD plans to establish a Family Subsistence Supplemental
Allowance (FSSA) program on May 1, 2001, that will provide qualifying
members and their families with a cash allowance up to $500 per month.
DoD will start processing and approving applications in May so eligible
members will begin receiving the benefit in late May or early June. While
the FSSA program does not change eligibility criteria for the Food Stamp
Program (FSP), we want to keep you informed about the status of the FSSA
program if questions arise.
Attached for your information are two documents regarding the FSSA program
-- a fact sheet which explains the program and its interaction with the
FSP and a summary of the legislation authorizing the FSSA program that
was provided to you in November. Please feel free to distribute this information
to your State agencies.
In general, service members are entitled to a cash benefit up to $500
per month if their householdís gross income is within the gross income
limits used in the FSP. By law, DoD is required to determine eligibility
for FSSA using the FSPís definition of household and the gross income
limits adjusted for household size from sections 3(i) and 5(c)(2) respectively
of the Food Stamp Act. The amount of the FSSA payment that a member receives
will be determined by subtracting the householdís gross income from the
gross income limits. Members will be paid the difference up to the $500
threshold. If an eligible member can establish that the household would
receive more benefits under the FSP than the FSSA amount, DoD must pay
the member the food stamp allotment equivalent but not more than $500.
In determining eligibility and benefits for FSSA, the statute requires
that the value of base housing must be counted as income.
The statute governing the FSSA program does not prohibit members from
receiving benefits under FSSA and the FSP at the same time. Service members
receiving FSSA will continue to be eligible for the FSP on the same basis
as any other low-income household. The FSP, however, will count any FSSA
benefits as income in determining food stamp eligibility and benefit amounts.
On the application form used by DoD for the FSSA program and in the implementation
instructions currently being drafted by DoD, service members receiving
food stamps and other government benefits are instructed to report the
change in income to their eligibility worker once they are approved for
FSSA. The amount of FSSA will be shown on the memberís Leave and Earnings
Statement which is the standard wage information form used by the military.
If you have any questions, please contact Connie Slough at (703) 305-2762.
/s/ March 29, 2001
Arthur T. Foley
Program Development Division
HR 5408 (Legislation on Military Subsistence
Short FSSA (Federal Subsistence Supplemental