Defense Bill aims to provide low-income military families extra food money
KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - A bill that would provide a pay raise and a new food allowance for low-income military families is gaining more traction.
The draft from the House of Representatives proposes a $770 billion bill, calling for a new food allowance and an extra $250 per paycheck.
According to the Defense Department, nearly one in four enlisted military members are facing food insecurity.
Army Veteran Jose Justiniano says even before the COVID pandemic, feeding a family on an enlisted soldier’s pay can be very challenging.
“It was difficult because I have three kids and I have bills,” he said.
“$250 could make a really big difference, especially soldiers with low rank. They can do only so many things with the bills they have to pay. So, this bill comes in handy.”
In Central Texas, Operation Phantom Support, a program that provides free food and discount shopping items for active and retired military families, says they believe the bill could make a big difference. However, CEO John Valentine thinks there’s more that can be done.
“I respect that this is what they’re trying to do to make sure that a soldier is taken care of,” he said.
“The spouse is fed and the children are fed. My problem with it is I don’t think they’re doing a deep enough dive into the problem.”
A problem that there are not enough resources like his organization available to military families around the country. He also proposes that soldiers should be taught on how to properly budget.
“We need to take a deeper dive into soldiers readiness,” he said.
“When they come into basic training or AIT, they should sit down through a class were they’re taught everything about how to properly manage their income.”
The bill is expected to be debated on the House floor come September 1.
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