Served, Sacrificed, Yet Struggling: 1 in 4 NY Veterans Living in Financial Hardship 

New ALICE report reveals New York’s financially insecure veterans are less likely to complete secondary education.

ALBANY, NY – They’ve served and sacrificed for our country yet nearly one quarter — 23% — of New York’s 640,136 veterans struggle to afford the basics, according to a new report from United Way of the Greater Capital Region and its research partner United For ALICE.

ALICE Veterans

In 2019, while 7% of the state’s veterans were deemed in poverty, 23% — three times as many — were ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). ALICE households earn more than the Federal Poverty Level but less than what it costs to live and work in the modern economy. Combined, 30% of New York’s veterans were below the ALICE Threshold of Financial Survival, with income that doesn’t meet the basic costs of housing, childcare, health care, transportation and a smartphone plan.

"The findings of the latest ALICE In Focus report serve as a reminder that more work is needed to meet the needs of our service members after their time in uniform is complete,” said Claire Reid, United Way of the Greater Capital Region’s Chief Impact Officer. “We must prioritize addressing the racial, gender, disability and age-based inequities that exacerbate financial hardship for some veterans more than others. While veterans are statistically slightly less likely to live below the ALICE threshold than those who have never served, it’s clear we need to do better. The findings do shed some encouraging insight into how specific supports can have a positive impact."

The ALICE in Focus: Veterans report and interactive tools reveal that while veterans show lower rates of financial hardship than individuals who never served, New York’s veterans face similar financial hurdles to their counterparts in neighboring states like Massachusetts, Vermont, and Pennsylvania.

For example, 39% of New York’s veterans earning below the ALICE Threshold spent more than 35% of their income on a mortgage, utilities, tax and insurance. That’s in comparison with the national average of 36%. And for renters, New York’s rate of 56% was also just above the national average of 55%.

ALICE Veterans

In addition, just 22% of New York’s financially insecure veterans participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), in comparison with 13% in neighboring Massachusetts and 19% in Vermont.

Nonetheless, there are some lessons to be learned from the data, said United For ALICE National Director Stephanie Hoopes, Ph.D. The state’s veterans are slightly better off than nonveterans with 30% struggling to make ends meet compared to 37% of adults who never served. 

“Veterans have higher rates of full-time employment, are more likely to be homeowners and have more comprehensive health insurance coverage and disability benefits,” Hoopes said. “This suggests that the supports afforded veterans are making a difference and could provide invaluable insights for developing strategies that help nonveterans facing financial hardship.” 


Other findings from ALICE in Focus: Veterans include:

  • Racial and ethnic inequities persist with 46% of Black veterans and 37% of Hispanic veterans living below the ALICE Threshold compared to 27% of white veterans and 43% of Asian veterans. 
  • Veterans with disabilities struggled more to afford the basics — 43%—compared to 25% of veterans without disabilities. 
  • Inequities also appear for Black and Hispanic veterans with disabilities — 69% and 60% lived below the ALICE Threshold respectively in comparison with 38% of white veterans with disabilities.
  • While working, veterans still experience financial hardship with 13% of veterans with full-time employment living below the ALICE Threshold and 45% of veterans working part-time.
  • Of veterans who graduated high school but had not completed post-secondary education, 54% were living below the ALICE Threshold.

More data is available through the ALICE in Focus: Veterans interactive data dashboard, which provides filters for regional and local geographies, age, race, disability status, living arrangements, work status and proximity to military bases. Visit

ALICE in Focus: Veterans marks the third installment in the ALICE in Focus Research Series, which draws from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS). Each installment in the series highlights a specific segment within the ALICE demographic. The other installments focused on children and people with disabilities.

About United Way of the Greater Capital Region

United Way of the Greater Capital Region is an organization that fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. It unites donors, volunteers, and community organizations in a common mission to strengthen our community and improve social conditions in the Capital Region and beyond. Learn more at or

About United For ALICE 

United For ALICE is a driver of innovation, research and action to improve life across the country for ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and for all. Through the development of the ALICE measurements, a comprehensive, unbiased picture of financial hardship has emerged. Harnessing this data and research on the mismatch between low-paying jobs and the cost of survival, ALICE partners convene, advocate and collaborate on solutions that promote financial stability at local, state and national levels. This grassroots ALICE movement, led by United Way of Northern New Jersey, has spread to 24 states and includes United Ways, corporations, nonprofits and foundations in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C., West Virginia and Wisconsin; we are United For ALICE. For more information, visit