Members of The Military May Qualify for Family Supplemental Subsistence Allowance

by Hank

Family Supplemental Subsistence Allowance (FSSA) was established in 2001 in order to supplement a military member’s Basic Allowance for Sustenance (BAS), or food allowance if you are not familiar with military terms.  FSSA was created by Congress to remove or prevent the need for assistance under the Food Stamp Program.  All active duty members, including those serving outside of the United States, may apply for FSSA.  The program is especially designed to help large military family households.

Currently, FSSA is payable at a monthly rate of up to $500, depending on the service member’s income and family size. It is designed to raise the member’s household income to 130% of the federal poverty level, and non-taxable and is payable in addition to all other pays and allowances.

To be eligible for FSSA a member must:

  • be on active duty and receiving BAS,
  • meet the gross income guidelines for household size as determined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • must have applied and been certified at a certain payment level by the appropriate office.

Household size

Gross monthly income
(130 percent of poverty)

Net monthly income
(100 percent of poverty)



$ 867






















Each additional member

+ 390

+ 300

  • Gross income means a household’s total, non-excluded income, before any deductions have been made. Net income means gross income minus allowable deductions.
  • Gross and net income limits are higher in Alaska and Hawaii.

Members must re-certify annually every February or if they are promoted, have a Permanent Change in Station (PCS) move, an increase in household income by $100, or a change in family size.  When re-certifying, it is important for members to adhere to the reapplication period time-lines so that their entitlement does not lapse. Members may reapply for FSSA up to 30 days before and 30 days after an event requiring re-certification without a lapse in entitlement. Reapplication after 30 days of an event that would otherwise terminate entitlement will be treated as an initial application.


Jerry July 10, 2009 at 5:00 pm

I’m glad that they make these funds easier to access for members whose service leads them to Alaska and Hawaii, because these are much more expensive states in which to live. Every family can use a little insurance to make ends meet, and this is one great way for them to help these military people to do so!

PFC Cochran August 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Im a PFC with four kids and make about $3100.00 gross per month and about $1045.00 net per month and want to apply for FSSA please call me at 831-809-7439 or email me thank you.
PFC Cochran, Foster

Monica heisse July 17, 2015 at 9:53 pm

I feel that utilizing gross rather than net is an unfair way to judge a person’s ability to provide enough money to cover the cost of food. We are a military family and our net income comes out to less than HALF our gross income because of the taxes the government pulls, mandatory deductions from pay and in our case a $500 child support bill a month because unless we were divorced and he was also paying me a child support, the child support agency will not recognize our 3 children living in the home. We struggle to provide enough food for our very large family because we also have other necessary bills such as car payment, insurance etc. I just feel to more accurately judge a family’s need for this, it needs to reflect the actual amount that is brought home.

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