1105.010.00 Citizenship and Immigrant Status

1105.010.10.20 Non-citizens With a Military Connection

IM-56 June 6, 2023; IM-121 August 15, 2019; IM-103 October 4, 2004; IM-56 April 18, 2003; IM-142 November 6, 1998

Qualified non-citizens who have a military connection can receive SNAP benefits for an unlimited period of time and do not have to meet the five-year waiting period.

A qualified non-citizen with a military connection is:

  • a veteran who was on active duty 24 months and was honorably discharged for reasons other than citizenship and their spouses or unmarried dependent children,
  • active duty personnel (other than active duty for training) and their spouses or unmarried dependent children,
  • the spouse of a citizen who is a veteran or on active duty with the military, OR
  • the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran or individual on active duty, provided the spouse has not remarried and the marriage meets one of the following requirements:
    • married at least 1 year; or
    • married before the end of a 15-year time span following the end of the period of military service in which injury that caused the military spouse’s death was incurred or aggravated; or
    • married for any period if a child was born of the marriage or was born before the marriage.
  • A non-citizen spouse of a veteran or an individual on active duty with the military, as long as the couple remains married.
    • If the couple divorces, the non-citizen spouse must meet one of the other immigrant criteria to continue eligibility for SNAP benefits.

Note:  If the veteran is deceased, the spouse cannot be remarried to continue eligibility.

The definition of a dependent is:

  • An unmarried child who is under the age of 18 or if a full-time student, under the age of 22, or
  • An unmarried child of a deceased veteran provided such child was a tax dependent of the veteran at the time of the veteran’s death, or
  • An unmarried disabled child age 18 or older, if the child was disabled and a tax dependent of the veteran prior to the child’s 18th birthday.

Note:  Child means a legally adopted or biological child of the veteran or a disabled individual claimed on the veteran’s or active duty person’s income tax as a dependent.

A non-citizen dependent child remains eligible for SNAP benefits even if the parents’ divorce and the child does not live with the veteran/active duty person.

Acceptable verification of an non-citizen’s military connection follows.

  • Honorably Discharged Veterans:
    • Use an original or notarized copy of the individual’s discharge certificate (DD Form 214) that shows active duty of at least two years in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp, or Coast Guard.
      • Character of discharge is noted on the DD-214. A DD-214 that shows character of discharge as anything other than “Honorable” is not eligible for this status.
      • A character of discharge “Under Honorable Conditions” is NOT an honorable discharge for these purposes.
    • If the applicant cannot provide the DD-214, the National Personnel Record Center 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO 63138 will send a copy of the DD-214 if a signed authorization is provided.
    • Contact the Veteran’s Administration (VA) regional office for determination of veteran status if a discharge certificate shows any other branch of service (Reserves or National Guard) or any other type of duty (e.g., “Active Duty for Training” or “Inactive Duty for Training”).
  • Full-time Active Duty: 
    • View a current military ID card (DD Form 2 (Active) that lists an expiration date of more than one year from the date of issue for an individual in the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marine Corp or Coast Guard.
      • If the card will expire within one year, use a copy of the individual’s military order to document active duty status.
      • This does not include full-time National Guard duty.
    • For an individual in the Reserves, Army National Guard, or Air National Guard view a current DD Form 2 (Reserve) (red) and military active duty order showing the individual is on active duty, but NOT active duty for training.
      • No other method for verifying this status is available.
    • If the individual is unable to furnish either of the above, active duty may be verified through the nearest RAPID (Real Time Automated Personnel Identification System) located at many military installations or by notifying the following office in writing (you may transmit this notice by facsimile):

DEERS Support Office
ATTN: Research and Analysis
400 Gigling Road
Seaside, California 93944-6771
FAX Number: 800-336-4416 and 502-335-9980

  • Spouse, Child or Unmarried Surviving Spouse of a Veteran or Active Duty Armed Forces Member:
    • View the individual’s current military ID card. The card will show:
      • that the individual is married to a veteran or active duty member,
      • that a child is dependent on the veteran or active duty member of the Armed Forces for his/her support and is under the age of eighteen (18) or, if a full-time student, under age twenty-two (22).
    • If the military ID card is unavailable or further documentation is needed, refer the individual to the VA regional office.