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Eligibility for Texas Food Stamps

Understanding the food stamps requirements in Texas is an important step for anyone who is looking to receive SNAP benefits. SNAP is federally ran and funded assistance program that helps low-income households purchase food. A SNAP benefits household is defined as a group of people who live at a residence together and purchase and prepare meals together. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) work together to oversee the food stamp eligibility guidelines households must meet in order to receive benefits. SNAP assistance is available to low-income and eligible families, elderly and single adults.

Applicants must be authorized residents of Texas and must follow the application procedures in the county they live in. Requirements for food stamps in TX include criteria such as residence, citizenship, annual income and more. Read the following sections below to learn more about how to qualify for food stamps.

Income Guidelines for Food Stamps in Texas

Income limits for food stamps will typically include both the household’s gross and net income. Food stamps income guidelines include both earned and unearned income. Gross income refers to the household’s total before any deductions have been applied and usually must meet or fall under 130 percent of the poverty line. Net income refers to the gross income minus the allowable deductions and it must reach or fall under 100 percent of the poverty line. Households with a disabled or elderly person only have to meet the net income requirement. In some instances, households that are already receiving benefits from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program may be determined as categorically eligible. The following are deductions approved by SNAP:

  • A 20-percent deduction from earned income
  • A standard deduction based upon household size
  • A dependent care deduction when required for work or education
  • Medical bills for an elderly or disabled member of the household if they are not paid by insurance or another entity.
  • Child support payments
  • Excess shelter costs

The food stamps income guidelines in Texas include the SNAP excess shelter costs deduction. Excess shelter costs are the shelters costs that exceed or meet more than half of the household’s annual income following other deductions. Fuel to cook with, electricity, water, basic fee for a single telephone, rent or mortgage payments and taxes for the residence are all examples of allowable shelter costs. The total amount of the shelter deduction is restricted to a specified amount unless that household has an elderly or disabled member. Households with an elderly or disabled member may have all their shelter costs over half of the household’s income deducted.

Learn more about whether or not your household qualifies for food stamps by downloading our in-depth SNAP guide.

Resource Requirements for Food Stamps in Texas

To qualify for food assistance, a household must meet the countable resources requirements. Typically, eligible households are allowed a certain amount in countable resources such as cash or money in a bank account. Households with a member who is either elderly or disabled are permitted to have a larger amount of countable resources. Resources that are not counted when deciding eligibility include a home and lot, resources of people that receive benefits from another program and most retirement and pension plans. Withdrawals from these programs may count as either income or resources depending on the frequency of the occurrence.

Texas food stamps eligibility guidelines also count a household’s car as a resource as well. However, vehicles that are used for incoming-producing purposes such as taxi, truck or delivery vehicle, are not counted as a resource. Vehicles needed for long distance commutes, used as a residence, needed to transport a disabled or elderly member or needed to carry household resources are also among the licensed vehicles that are not counted. In some instances, if the sale of the vehicle does not reach $1,500, then it does not qualify as a resource. Licensed vehicles may also experience an equity test. The equity value is the fair market value less than any amount owed on the vehicle. Typically, the determined equity value of unlicensed vehicles will be counted as resources. Learn more about SNAP resources requirements in our comprehensive food stamps guide.

Work Requirements for Food Stamps in Texas

Typically, people must meet work requirements to successfully fill out their food stamp application form. An individual within the household must register for work or participate in employment and training programs if assigned. This includes not quitting voluntarily or reducing the required number of hours worked. The Texas Workforce Commission offers an array of resources to households seeking assistance from a work training program. These programs include Texas OnCourse, Hurricane Harvey Resources, Transitioning Texas Troops, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Meet the Challenge and the Skills Development Fund.

Households with able-bodied adults and without dependents must work or be involved in a work program for a minimum of at least 20 hours per week to receive food stamp benefits for more than three months in a 36-month span of time. Households that fail to meet the work requirements may have their benefits canceled and be disqualified from the assistance program. The following are groups that may not be required to meet the work requirements:

  • Children
  • Pregnant women
  • Elderly people
  • Individuals who are exempt due to physical or mental health reasons

Food Stamps Eligibility for Non-citizens in Texas

For non-citizens to qualify for food assistance in TX, they must meet specific requirements set by SNAP and HHSC. The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 limits eligibility for benefits to U.S. citizens and legally documented non-citizens. Typically, non-citizens will qualify for the assistance program if they have either lived in the U.S. for a minimum of five years, have been receiving disability-related benefits or is a child under the age of 18. Non-citizens must also meet the regular SNAP eligibility requirements such as annual income and countable resources. In the instance where only certain members of the household fail to meet food stamp requirements, their local HHSC office will determine eligibility for benefits for any of the remaining qualifying members.