Record high unemployment is causing more families to consider applying for food stamps. Food stamp programs have been extended in response to this need, and more families now qualify for Texas food stamp assistance. In Texas and around the country, the food stamp benefit program is called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Applying for SNAP in Texas is a simple process.
Step 1– Use the Texas SNAP Benefit Estimator at the Texas HHSC (Health and Human Services Commission) website. The food stamp benefit calculator will tell you if you might qualify for food stamps in Texas and how much your food stamp benefit might be. The calculator is only an estimate, but it may help you decide if you want to apply for food stamps.
Step 2– Fill out the food stamp application. In Texas you can apply for food stamps either online or at your local HHSC office. Be sure to fill out your food stamp application completely and honestly. If you don’t, it will take longer to process your food stamp application.
Step 3– Gather the appropriate paperwork. Before turning in your food stamp application or meeting with your caseworker for the first time, you will want to have some documents. Important documents include: birth certificate for all family members, social security card for all family members, Green card or legal resident card, drivers license or picture identification for head of household, lease agreement (proof of address), pay stubs for last month, SSI or Social Security benefit verification, any other income verification. If you cannot get all these together quickly, don’t worry. You can still apply for food stamps without them. Your food stamp application will be processed quicker if you have your paperwork.
Step 4– Visit your local food stamp office unless you have completed the food stamp application online. Texas HHSC has food stamp offices located in every county and there are usually several in large cities. Expect to spend at least an hour at the Texas HHSC office when you turn in your Texas food stamp application or attend your first appointment with a caseworker.. Depending on which office you visit, you could have a long wait. When you turn in your food stamp application, you will be asked several questions that will determine if you qualify for expedited food stamps. If you qualify for expedited food stamps, you may see a caseworker that same day.
Step 5– When you are approved for food stamp benefits, you will be issued a Lone Star card. This is an EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card that looks like a credit or debit card. It is used the same way as a debit card- you slide the card in the reader, enter your pin, and approve the purchase price. Your receipt will usually show the ending balance.
Tips- Getting food stamps in Texas can take months. Some things you can do to get your food stamp application processed quickly include: Fill out your food stamp application online. If you qualify for expedited food stamps at the time you turn in your application this will help. Choose a day when you have less than $100. in cash or in your bank account to turn in your application. Keep all important documents together and in an accessible place. A Texas HHSC worker will call you about your application. Be prepared to fax the documents to the worker for quicker processing. Call your HHSC worker or the central office weekly to check on the status of your application.
If you need a translator for your appointment be sure to let HHSC know before your appointment. You can also request the food stamp application in the language you speak, read, and write.
If your food stamp application is denied or you disagree with the amount of food stamp benefits you were awarded, you can ask for a fair hearing. A fair hearing form can be obtained from your local Texas HHSC office.
In order to keep your Texas food stamp benefits, you need to follow the rules. Your caseworker will tell you what those rules are. Failure to follow the rules can cause your Texas food stamp benefits to be withdrawn or reduced.
Texas SNAP Food Benefits
Texas SNAP Benefit Estimator
Your Texas Benefits