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Military Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance

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Updated January 09, 2011

A few years ago (Summer of 2000), the Department of Defense was embarassed because of a news report that stated that some low-ranking enlisted members with large families were entitled to food stamps. This got Congress's attention, and they acted -- not in the way many peopled hoped, by increasing military base pay, but rather in the creation of a new allowance for some low-ranking military members with lots of dependents.

Congress created a new military allowance, called the "Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance (FSSA)." Low-ranking military members, who would otherwise qualify for food stamps, may apply for this monthly, tax-free allowance, thereby removing them from food stamp eligibility.

The actual amount payable depends on the members income and number of family members. FSSA is payable in an amount that would bring the member’s gross household income to 130 percent of the Federal poverty line as established by the US Department of Agriculture. The maximum amount of the allowance is $1,100 per month.

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