Active duty military members and their families used more food stamps than they did in the previous year, a sign that the poor economy is taking a heavy toll on those who serve. According to the data, $104 million worth of food stamps were redeemed at military commissaries. Experts say that unemployment among military spouses was around 30% in 2012.
Food stamp redemption at military grocers has been rising steadily since the beginning of the recession in 2008. Nearly $104 million worth of food stamps was redeemed at military commissaries in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.
“I’m amazed, but there’s a very real need,” said Thomas Greer, spokesman for Operation Homefront, a nonprofit that helps soldiers on the financial brink nationwide.
Some of the growth in soldiers’ redemption of food stamps reflects the weak economic recovery, especially for spouses looking for jobs. In 2012, there was a 30% unemployment rate among spouses off active-duty military who were 18 to 24 years old, according to the Military Officers Association of America, which released the survey last week.
Spouses who have to relocate every few years have a tough time finding work in the private sector.