Posted by Amy Bushatz
JANUARY 13, 2016
Food stamp use in the military’s grocery store system dropped by about 6 percent last year, down from $84.5 million in fiscal year 2014 to $79.5 million in fiscal year 2015.
The decline comes after a big drop between 2013 and 2014 when use went down by 18 percent. That fall, however, can be blamed at least in part on a reduction in the benefit, known as SNAP, at the end of fiscal 2013.
We could spend a lot of time quibbling over what these numbers mean, but we probably wouldn’t come up with many answers. Did usage drop because there are fewer families in the military? The latest numbers show a drop of about 102,000 military family members between 2013 and 2014. Could it be because fewer people know that they can register for SNAP? Is it because fewer people are using SNAP at the commissary and instead taking it elsewhere? Are the bulk of these commissary transactions even active duty families, or are they other types of shoppers (guard, reserve and retiree)? (For what it’s worth, I’ve been trying to get an answer to that question for about a year.)
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