How A 90% Disabled Veteran Is Too Rich For Food Stamps


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.

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3 Comments on “How A 90% Disabled Veteran Is Too Rich For Food Stamps”

  1. josh
    April 23, 2014 at 9:01 am #


    I’ve been reading your blog for the last few weinner I actually found your blog when doing research about Jews in the military…that was a great post!). I enjoy reading your posts and have subscribed to your blog. I’m not a veteran but coming from a family of veterans, veteran causes are very important to me.

    Your post is an example of the terrible inefficiencies of our governments. Prior to Obamacare, I had a similar situation – I lost my job during the year and no longer had any income but because I had worked part of the year (not making much money) I had earned too much income for the year to receive subsidized benefits)

    Good luck!


  2. Thisismy
    December 11, 2015 at 10:55 pm #

    “…in essence, that if I were less injured I’d be receiving more assistance.”

    Ouch. That’s really really stupid.

    But, if you are 90% and unemployed, you can apply for Individual Unemployability at the VA and get paid the 100% rate.


  3. James
    January 19, 2018 at 10:20 pm #

    How about getting a job and buy food with your own money. Obviously youre not too disabled to work or you would be at. 100%. And before you attack me realize that I am too 90% disabled. However unlike you I work.


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