Your food stamps eligibility in Texas is based on a number of different factors. While some food stamp qualifications are the same for everyone, other requirements only apply to certain households. For example, the eligibility criteria may be different if you live in a household with a senior or person with disabilities. Moreover, there are a few different rules if you are an able-bodied adult without dependents.
This benefit, officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is provided by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). SNAP receives federal funding, but ultimately, the HHSC determines if you are eligible for benefits in the state. Read below to learn how to qualify for SNAP in Texas and discover which requirements may apply to you.
Citizenship and Residency Requirements for SNAP in Texas
One of the most basic food stamp qualifications in Texas relates to the fact that all applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents. Keep in mind that not all legal aliens are accepted into this program, even if they meet the qualifications for other government programs. However, many are eligible.
If you have a mix of legal and non-legal residents in your household, you can still apply for benefits. Because SNAP eligibility is limited to applicants who have a legal status in the U.S., you will simply receive a different amount of assistance based on the number of household members who are deemed eligible. For example, it is possible for the children of non-citizens to receive benefits, even if their parents do not meet the requirements.
In addition to being a U.S. citizen or legal resident, you must also be a resident of Texas in order to receive help from the state HHSC. If you think that you qualify for food stamps, but you are not a resident of Texas, you may be eligible for assistance in your home state.
Each state operates its own benefits program, and the requirements are typically very similar. You may use a SNAP calculator to determine if you meet the requirements in a different state.
What are the SNAP income guidelines in Texas?
Meeting the food stamp income guidelines in Texas is the next step in determining your eligibility for this program. Income includes anything that you earn for doing work or other services. Ultimately, the SNAP income guidelines depend on your household size and composition. Therefore, it is important to understand who counts as a household member and who does not.
Generally, a household includes everyone who lives together and shares meals. As such, you do not necessarily need to be related to one another. Furthermore, some people are automatically included in your household even if they do not live or eat together. For example, if someone in your home is married, that person’s spouse will be counted even if he or she does not live with everyone else.
Under the SNAP income guidelines 2019, your income usually must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty level. However, these requirements are different if you live in a household made up entirely of seniors or people with disabilities. In this situation, you can usually meet the requirements with a slightly higher income. The SNAP guidelines also outline what resources you can have. A financial resource (or asset) can include any of the following:
- Bank accounts
- Cash on hand
- Savings bonds
- Property that you do not live on
Generally, things such as retirement accounts, vehicles and homes are not counted as resources. In any case, you can only meet the food stamp qualifications in Texas if you have a limited amount of these resources. Just like income, you must count the resources of each household member.
The amount of income you have will affect your overall eligibility. Moreover, it may impact the amount of assistance that you can receive. Regardless of how low your income is, there are caps on the amount of SNAP you can receive each month. Learn more about income requirements by reading our free guide.
Other Important Food Stamps Qualifications in Texas
In addition to the SNAP eligibility requirements described above, there are a few other basic things to be aware of. First, everyone applying for food stamps must have a Social Security Number (SSN) or provide proof of applying for an SSN. If anyone in your household does not have an SSN, he or she will not be able to get benefits. However, the rest of your family can still file an application.
Other Texas food stamp qualifications relate to your employment status. You may need to meet the work requirements if you:
- Are between 18 and 59 years of age.
- Do not have dependents.
- Do not have a disability.
- Are not pregnant.
If you otherwise meet all the requirements for SNAP eligibility but are not employed, you may be able to get benefits for a few months. You may need to register for work in order to receive benefits for a longer period of time. Registering for work can mean that you agree to participate in job training, accept reasonable job offers or maintain a job once you get one.
If you are currently employed, you may already meet the work requirements. However, you will be expected to work a minimum number of hours per week and not quit your job without good cause.
How do you maintain your food stamps in Texas?
If you currently have SNAP eligibility in Texas, you will receive benefits for a set amount of time. This is known as your certification period or benefit period. Once this period ends, you must recertify your eligibility. This lets you continue receiving assistance if you still meet the requirements.
Any changes to your circumstances may affect your food stamps eligibility, such as an increase or decrease to your income. In order to maintain your SNAP eligibility, your income, resources and employment status must meet the program requirements when you renew your benefits.
It is possible that you could lose your Texas food stamps eligibility if you no longer meet the appropriate criteria. However, your benefit amount may simply change in some cases.
Committing certain program violations, such as misusing your benefits, may affect your eligibility as well. Even if you still meet all the food stamp qualifications, you can lose your benefits altogether if you violate the rules. Read our free guide for more information on requirements.