WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) led the introduction of the bipartisan Feed Hungry Veterans Act to expand access to federal nutrition programs for disabled veterans. A recent study showed food insecurity was 22.5% higher among disabled working-age veterans than the average for all working age veterans.
This bill would use U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs disability standards to ensure certain disabled veterans have access to vital benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and do not face barriers because of work requirements.
“No veteran should ever go hungry in the United States,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “The Feed Hungry Veterans Act provides critical, commonsense improvements to how veterans access federal nutrition programs. Veterans frequently face physical and mental health challenges, including service-related or severe disabilities, significantly impacting their ability to work. I have heard directly from veterans, unable to work because of disabilities endured during their service, who went hungry because they could not access nutrition programs. That is unacceptable. My bill will ensure those who honorably served our country do not struggle to put food on the table.”
The Feed Hungry Veterans Act is cosponsored by Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, David Scott (GA-13), and Congresswoman Amata Coleman Radewagen (American Samoa).
“I am honored to join this bipartisan bill as an original cosponsor as we push to end hunger, particularly among our veterans. Subcommittee Chairwoman Jahana Hayes has been working diligently on this issue in our House Agriculture Committee, and it is a privilege to support her and this bill,” said Chairman Scott. “I am confident that we can come together on the Committee, in the House, and in Congress to move this important legislation forward and help support our veterans.”
Specifically, the Feed Hungry Veterans Act will expand SNAP eligibility for:
- Veterans with one service-connected disability rating at 60% or higher – or – with two or more service-connected disabilities, at least one of which is rated 40% or higher and the combined rating is 70% or higher;
- Veterans who had been determined to be ‘catastrophically’ disabled; and
- Veterans who are under 65 years old and receiving a veteran’s pension.
“The expansion of SNAP eligibility to more service connected disabled, elderly and housebound Veterans will support improved nutritional health and an overall better quality of life of thousands of lower income Veterans in Connecticut and across the United States,” said Connecticut State Veterans Affairs Commissioner Thomas J. Saadi.
The Feed Hungry Veterans Act is endorsed by the following organizations: Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), FRAC, the Alliance to End Hunger, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, Student Veterans of America (SVA), End Hunger CT!, The National Military Families Association, American Heart Association, the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN), Center for Science in the Public Interest, Blue Star Families, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
“The Feed Hungry Veterans Act of 2022 takes an important step forward in addressing the long-overlooked crisis of hunger among our nation’s veterans and makes vital policy changes to facilitate access to SNAP for veterans with service-connected disabilities, a population at heightened risk of food insecurity. MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger applauds Chairwoman Jahana Hayes for her leadership in introducing this important legislation. After nearly a decade of work, MAZON continues to raise awareness about the issue of veteran food insecurity and the significant gap in SNAP participation among the veteran population. TheFeed Hungry Veterans Act will make a difference in ensuring that those who have bravely served our country do not have to worry where their next meal will come from. We encourage the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to incorporate this legislation into the next Farm Bill,” said Abby J. Leibman, President and CEO of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.
“Food insecurity is a prevalent issue for many aging and disabled veterans. The Feed Hungry Veterans Act of 2022 would expand eligibility criteria for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), reducing the number of veterans that lack consistent access to enough food,” said Paralyzed Veterans of America.
“A 2021 study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service shows that working-age veterans have a 7.4% greater risk of experiencing food insecurity than non-veterans, and disabled veterans—in particular—have a 22.5% greater risk than their veteran counterparts. These figures illustrate the importance of passing the Feed Hungry Veterans Act of 2022, which would expand eligibility for supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits to more than 2 million disabled veterans. DAV supports this important legislation and applauds Rep. Hayes for her leadership in introducing this bill,” said Joy Ilem, National Legislative Director of Disabled American Veterans.
This past November, Congresswoman Hayes led a hearing in the House Agriculture Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations Subcommittee that highlighted veteran and servicemember food insecurity. A recording of the hearing can be found here.
Congresswoman Jahana Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District. She was a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.