Veterans’ Day is an appropriate time to highlight some ways that the safety net helps many low-income veterans and active-duty members of the military make ends meet. It’s important to note that policymakers’ actions in areas like health coverage and tax credits for working families have a big impact on veterans and their families.
SNAP (formerly food stamps): Roughly 1.7 million veterans live in households that participate in SNAP at some point during the year, and roughly 980,000 live in households that participate in an average month. SNAP provides an essential support for low-income veterans, who may be unemployed, working in low-wage jobs, or disabled. Click here for more.
Housing assistance: Roughly 343,000 veterans — most of them elderly or with disabilities — receive rental assistance to help them afford housing. Rental assistance appears to have played a central role in the 33 percent decline in veterans’ homelessness since 2010 (see graph), and it allows veterans to devote more of their limited resources to other basic needs, like food or medicine. Click here and here for more.
Health coverage: Roughly 215,000 veterans in 23 states are uninsured and denied Medicaid because their state has refused to take up health reform’s Medicaid expansion. Their income is too high for Medicaid under prior eligibility rules but too low to receive subsidies to buy private coverage through the new insurance marketplaces. Click here for more.
Working-family tax credits: Many families that include one or more veterans or active-duty military would lose all or part of two federal tax credits if key provisions expire as scheduled at the end of 2017. Some 450,000 veteran and armed forces families with children would lose all or part of their Child Tax Credit; a similar number of veteran or active-duty military families would lose all or part of their Earned Income Tax Credit. Click here for more.