Texas SNAP Benefits
Through the assistance of SNAP food benefits in Texas, qualifying low-income households are able to purchase nutritious food from local food retail stores. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) works with local Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) offices to oversee the eligibility requirements. Qualifications include annual household income, resources and much more.
Food stamps benefits are available for a variety of low-income households such as families, the elderly and single adults. The federally funded program issues benefits through a Lone Star Card which is similar to a bank card. Candidates use their benefits at pre-approved food retail stores and are able to purchase a wide variety of foods. However, there are certain foods and products that are off limits and will not be covered through the benefits. To find out more information about SNAP benefits in Texas, review the sections below.
What SNAP Benefits in Texas Offer
The benefits of the food stamps program allow beneficiaries to purchase foods such as breads, fruits, vegetables, meats products and also dairy products. Also, the program allows recipients to purchase seeds and plants that can produce food for the household. In certain parts of Texas, authorized restaurants will accept SNAP food benefits from those who are homeless, elderly or disabled. Despite popular belief, junk food and so-called luxury items are also available for purchase with SNAP. This includes sodas, bakery items, ice cream, seafood, steaks and more. Energy drinks that possess a nutrition facts label are considered eligible products. However, energy drinks that have a supplement facts label are ineligible since they are categorized as supplements by the FDA.
Food stamp benefits in TX do not allow for the purchase of live animals and birds. However, live seafood such as fish, shellfish and lobster are eligible food products. Holiday and birthday arrangements such as edible pumpkins, gift baskets and cakes are authorized products for purchase as long as the non-food items do not exceed 50 percent of the overall purchase. SNAP benefits prohibit the purchase of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, prepared food and food sold on-premises intended to be eaten. Along with these ineligible products, the following are additional items that cannot be purchased with the food assistance benefits:
- Pet food
- Paper products
- Bathroom toiletries
- Household products
Learn more about eligible and ineligible products by downloading our in-depth food stamps guide.
Eligible Stores That Accept SNAP Food Benefits in Texas
Authorized food retailers must meet one of the two staple food requirements for beneficiaries to shop there. Staple foods are referred to as the basic foods that make up a major portion of a person’s diet and does not include prepared and heated foods. The four staple food groups are vegetables or fruits, dairy products, meat products and breads or cereal.
Staple food inventory refers to a SNAP benefits food retail store that has a constant supply of staple foods including some perishable staple products. Authorized food retailers must include three stocking units of three staple food varieties in each of the four staple foods categories as well as three stocking units of one perishable staple food that falls in at least two staple food categories. Most food retail establishments will meet the first criteria. Another requirement states SNAP authorized food retailers must also have more than 50 percent of its gross retail sales from the sales of staple foods.
Food Stamps Benefits and the Texas EBT System
The Texas Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system provides SNAP benefits to candidates through a Lone Star Card. The Lone Star Card will act as the payment method for qualifying households when purchasing food at predetermined stores, similar to a common credit or debit card. Eligible candidates will receive the benefits card from their local HHSC office or through the mail. Households that want to add another person to their Lone Star Card account can request a second card. The authorized card holders are the only individuals allowed to purchase items through the use of the benefits card. Allowing an unauthorized person to use the Lone Star Card can result in termination or suspension of benefits.
The benefits of the food stamp program are secure through the use of a PIN. The cardholders’ PIN will consist of a four-digit combination and can be reset and changed through the help of the card’s 24/7 toll-free service hotline. The beneficiary can request to have the Lone Star Card frozen through the hotline service in instances the card is misplaced or stolen. Newly issued cards will typically reach the household’s location in about a week. SNAP benefits in TX will be transferred into the cardholder’s account once a month. The final digit on their SNAP eligibility determination group (EDG) number is used to determine the day they will receive their benefits.
SNAP Food Benefits in Texas and Monthly Allotment
The amount of food stamp benefits each qualifying household receives is referred to as an allotment. The allotment total is determined by calculations of the household’s monthly net income and size. Net income refers to the gross income of the household minus the allowable deductions. The household’s monthly net income is multiplied by .3 since qualified households are expected to pay for 30 percent of their own resources on food. The given amount is then subtracted by the household’s maximum possible allotment to determine their monthly SNAP benefits allotment. Find out more about how much your household can earn in benefits by downloading our comprehensive guide.
How long will it take to receive SNAP benefits in Texas?
Typically, the SNAP benefits application process will last about 30 days and will require an eligibility interview. In some instances, eligible candidates can receive benefits within seven days of their application date. Households that meet the requirements will receive a notice outlining the duration of their food stamp benefits in Texas. This span of time is referred to as the certification period. Prior to the completion of the certification period, the household will receive another notice telling them about the process to reapply for benefits.