They’ve bravely served and sacrificed for our country. Yet 23% of Illinois veterans are unable to afford basics in the nation they’ve so selflessly defended.
The latest ALICE in Focus: Veterans Research Brief and interactive dashboards from United For ALICE reveal that while 6% of veterans live in poverty, another 17% — two times as many — are ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and living paycheck to paycheck in our state.
The ALICE data uncovers the harsh realities faced by these struggling veterans. In 2019, 51% of veterans living in financial hardship in Illinois spent at least 35% of their income on rent, stretching their budgets even thinner. And just 18% of veterans living paycheck to paycheck participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – which means 93,000 may have gone to bed hungry.
The research also sheds light on factors that may have made financial insecurity more likely for some veterans. For example:
- 34% of veterans with disabilities
- 26% of veterans with a high school diploma only
- 36% of Black veterans
- 26% of Hispanic veterans
…were all unable to afford basics in Illinois.
But the ALICE in Focus research doesn’t stop there. While many veterans were struggling financially, the data shows that, overall, they fared better than nonveterans – with 23% of veterans statewide living in struggling households, compared to 29% of nonveterans. What makes the difference? Veterans in Illinois are more likely to be employed full-time, own a home, and have more comprehensive health insurance coverage and disability benefits. Learning what works for veterans can help inform action to improve the lives of all ALICE households in the state.
United, with this information, we can create change for veterans in need and improve life for all.