By Jay Kirell
Some of you might remember a few months ago I wrote a little essay about being a veteran on food stamps. Most likely, it’s the reason you read this blog at all, since a majority of this blog’s traffic was generated from that once-viral story.
Well, it’s with an awkward reluctance that I’m here to say I’ll no longer be a 35-year-old white male combat veteran on food stamps come May.
Not because I won the lottery.
Not because I found a job
Not because my wife suddenly recovered from her Celiac disease, back surgery and recent lupus-diagnosis and found employment.
No, I found out via a letter from the local district office handling my case that my recertification for benefits was declined because I was currently making too much money to qualify.
Which was news to me, as I don’t particularly feel wealthy.
According to the letter I received my Veterans Affairs disability compensation was currently paying me $176 over the limit to receive the $347 a month in SNAP benefits.
If it wasn’t effecting me personally, I would laugh at the absurdity of the notion that, as a disabled veteran rated at 90% by the VA, I’m actually in the worst position to receive assistance benefits.
Even though it’s the only source of income my wife and I currently have, that 90% rating ends up costing us $171 per month in overall money-on-hand to provide for ourselves due to the qualifications guidelines stating, in essence, that if I were less injured I’d be receiving more assistance.
Due to a weird sort of VA Disability/SNAP donut-hole, if I was rated at 80% disabled I would qualify for food stamps because I’d be coming in $28 under the limit of $1,681 per month, and if I was rated 100% disabled I’d still qualify, (even though I’d be making $1200 over the limit), since in order to actually be considered “disabled” you have to have a 100-percent rating and be unable to work.
But the folks at 90% are apparently considered too disabled to provide assistance for, yet not injured enough to be considered disabled.
Which is where I find myself. A disabled veteran too rich for food stamps.
So…know anybody hiring? Gluten-free food ain’t cheap.