Texas food stamps are available to low-income families and individuals by the state Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). This program, which is officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), makes it easier for beneficiaries to afford healthy food. Families approved for the SNAP program will receive an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card that works similar to a debit card to buy food.
SNAP food stamps are meant to supplement your family’s grocery budget. With that in mind, most families end up spending their own funds in addition to these benefits. Read below to learn more about SNAP assistance in Texas and find out how you can qualify for this program and submit an application.
Learn About Texas Food Stamps Requirements
Your SNAP eligibility in Texas is based on several different factors. Some of the food stamp qualifications apply to everyone, while others only apply in certain situations. Regardless of your circumstances, you must meet these requirements:
- Reside in Texas.
- Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident.
- Have a Social Security Number (SSN) or proof that you have applied for one.
Your food stamps eligibility also depends on your income level and access to financial resources. However, the SNAP income guidelines are a little different depending on your age or disability status. As a general rule, in order to qualify, your income must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty level. If you live in a household that includes seniors or people with disabilities, you can have a slightly higher income and still qualify.
When learning about the food stamp income guidelines in Texas, it helps to understand that income includes anything you earn for work or other services. On the other hand, a financial resource includes things such as your bank account, bonds, stocks or cash on hand. Any personal property, like your home and primary vehicle, typically does not count as a resource.
Keep in mind that your SNAP eligibility can vary based on your household size and composition. Generally speaking, a larger household can qualify with a slightly higher income. Overall, your household includes everyone who lives together and shares meals. When determining your eligibility, you must count the income and resources of each person in your household.
Furthermore, be mindful that there may be additional food stamp qualifications based on your age. For example, if you are an able-bodied adult, you may need to meet work requirements before you can receive benefits.
If you do not meet the state’s employment criteria, it may be possible to qualify for a few months of food stamps. However, you must meet the proper work requirements if you wish to have your benefits continue for a longer period of time. Download our free guide to learn more about these requirements.
How to Apply for Food Stamps in Texas
You can apply for food stamps online, in person or through the mail. More often than not, applying online is the easiest method for most families. Online forms may be competed on the official state application portal, which allows you to apply for SNAP in addition to other benefits that you may qualify for, such as Medicaid.
Because there are multiple types of benefits included on the same online application, you may find it helpful to use the prescreening tool to determine which benefits you may qualify for. However, note that filling out the prescreening tool is not the same as applying.
If you prefer to apply for food stamps in Texas using a paper form, you can download and print the application from the online state portal. Alternatively, you can contact the HHSC to receive a copy of this form.
Paper applications can be submitted to the HHSC by mail. If you prefer to apply in person, you may visit an organization that participates in the Texas Community Partner Program. Various organizations have partnered with the HHSC through this program to serve beneficiaries at the local level.
When you apply for food stamps, you will need to provide a variety of information about your household. These details help the HHSC determine if you are eligible for benefits. Your application will need to include information such as:
- The SSN of each household member who needs benefits.
- The names and basic details of each household member.
- Your address.
- Sources of income and resources.
- Employment and/or disability information, if applicable.
After your food stamp application is submitted, you will need to undergo an interview. Interviews are used to verify your information and gather any details that may have been missing from your application.
Find Out About SNAP Benefits in Texas
If you are approved for food stamp benefits in Texas, you may receive your benefits in as little as one month. However, emergency help may be available if you have extremely limited resources or income. In emergency situations, it is possible to receive assistance in less than one week.
Knowing what you can spend SNAP benefits on is important before you begin shopping. SNAP food benefits can be used at a wide variety of establishments, including grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and even some farmers’ markets. On the other hand, you generally cannot spend benefits in restaurants.
As a general rule, SNAP food benefits can only be spent on approved items. Most approved foods fall into the following categories:
- Meat, fish and eggs
- Bread and cereal
- Fruits and veggies
- Snacks and beverages
- Dairy products and non-dairy alternatives
Even if you are shopping at an approved store, there are certain items that you cannot buy. This includes alcohol, tobacco and non-food items such as paper products or pet food. Furthermore, you cannot spend SNAP benefits on hot or ready-to-eat items, such as meals from the deli section of the store.
SNAP food benefits also cannot be used to pay bills or take cash out of an ATM. Other types of benefits may be eligible for cash withdrawals, but SNAP is not. Download our free guide to learn more about what you can and cannot buy with SNAP benefits.
Name: Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC)
Phone Number: 512-424-6500
Address: Brown-Heatly Building 4900 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78751-2316
Director: Wayne Salter