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In the US, over 34 million people are food insecure, with approximately one in eight children starving daily. Hunger was a significant issue in the US, so the Roosevelt administration created the Food Stamp program in 1939. Since its creation, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has been one of the US’s most effective federal nutrition assistance programs.
The program helps many Americans, especially in Texas, put food on their tables. This initiative is in place across the entire country, but every state administers it differently, and the SNAP benefits in Texas are vital for many families.
Understanding SNAP Benefits
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, is a government initiative offering a sliding scale of income designated for food to low-income working families, people with disabilities, low-wage seniors, and others with low incomes.
Every household member may receive an average monthly SNAP benefit of $129. However, individuals living below the poverty line tend to get more SNAP benefits than those closer to the poverty line.
The poverty line is the minimum income you can earn to qualify for various government benefits and programs, and it differs from state to state. The lower you’re on your state’s poverty line, the more government aid you’ll receive because your income level is too low to support your financial needs.
The SNAP benefits endeavor to offer financial assistance for nutritional needs for low-income individuals and families, hoping they’ll afford other basic needs, like utilities, rent, medical bills, and transportation. Essentially, SNAP benefits help people buy food to maintain a healthy life. These benefits can also be used to purchase garden seeds.
SNAP benefits are put on a Lone Star Card, and you can use them like any other credit card at any store that accepts SNAP. You can’t use SNAP food benefits to:
- Buy alcoholic drinks.
- Buy Tobacco.
- Pay the food bills you owe.
- Buy things you can’t drink or eat.
Also, you can use your SNAP food benefits to buy food online.
Eligibility Requirements in Texas:
Eligibility for Texas SNAP benefits largely depends on household and income composition. SNAP eligibility requirements in Texas include:
- Individuals who don’t have a lot of money and meet SNAP rules.
- Most people aged between 18 and 49 with no children in their homes can qualify for SNAP benefits for only three months in three years. (Note: The benefits period may be extended if the individual works at least 20 hours a week or is in a training or job program. Some people may not have to work to qualify for SNAP benefits, especially those with disabilities or who are pregnant.)
- Households with people with disabilities or older adults (60 or older) may qualify to participate in the Texas Simplified Application Project (TSAP). That makes the SNAP application process easier and offers three years of food benefits at a time instead of the usual six months.
For a general idea of income limits for SNAP eligibility in Texas, the table below outlines the maximum monthly income thresholds for various family sizes:
|Maximum Monthly Income
|Every additional member
For every additional person, you’ll receive $649.
Work requirements also apply to persons aged 16 to 59 seeking SNAP food benefits. These requirements require individuals to seek employment or actively participate in approved work programs. Applicants with a job can’t voluntarily leave work without a valid reason.
Besides Texas SNAP income limits, the SNAP food program determines monthly payment amounts based on family size. The table below offers a summary of the maximum monthly SNAP food benefit amounts:
|Monthly SNAP Amount
For every additional individual, add $211.
It’s vital to note that these figures represent basic guidelines, and different circumstances may necessitate further assessment by the SNAP program.
These benefits support vulnerable families by ensuring they access balanced and nutritious food. If you meet the above income requirements or have questions concerning your eligibility, contact us for personalized assistance and detailed information on SNAP benefits eligibility requirements.
Don’t forget that SNAP benefits are meant to alleviate food insecurity and foster well-being among vulnerable communities, offering a lifeline to families striving for a better future.
To qualify for SNAP benefits in Texas, you must also meet the following resource limits:
- Total household resources shouldn’t exceed $5,000, including excess vehicle value and liquid resources.
- Liquid resources include money in checking or savings accounts, cash on hand, stocks, bonds, or savings certificates.
- The fair market value of one motor vehicle up to $15,000 is excluded, but any value more than that counts towards the $5,000 total resource limit.
- $4,650 of the fair market of the second vehicle is excluded, but any value more than that counts towards the $5,000 total resources limit.
- Fair market value doesn’t consider the amount of equity a family has in the vehicle but the car’s actual value.
Income Guidelines and Limits
There are three key eligibility assessments for SNAP food benefits: the net income, the gross income, and the asset tests. Based on your state and if your family has a person with a disability or who is 60 or older, your family might be excused from net income, gross income, and asset tests. Texas extends its eligibility beyond the standard federal SNAP benefit eligibility requirements.
Although the asset and gross income tests are clear, net income is pretty difficult to determine. Let’s dive into a detailed analysis to help you determine if you’re eligible for Texas SNAP benefits based on your income:
Gross Income Requirements
Gross income refers to the total monthly family income before taxation, including self-employment, job, and other payments like disability, social security, worker’s compensation, child support, pension, and unemployment income.
Note: If your household has an individual who is 60 years or older or is disabled but is over the gross income limit in the table below, the family can instead qualify for SNAP benefits by meeting the net income and asset tests.
|Gross Monthly Income
|Each additional individual
The gross income requirement is often 165% of the federal poverty line.
Here’s how to calculate SNAP gross income:
|Gross Income Computation
|Example of a family of 4 members
|Determine family size
|Four members with no disabled or elderly persons
|Calculate gross income
|$2,500 earned income + $550 social security = $3,050
|If gross monthly income is less than the limit for family size, calculate net income
|$3,050 is less than the $3,816 allowed for a household of 4 people, so you must determine net income.
Net Income Requirements and Limits:
You can obtain this figure by subtracting deductions from your gross income. SNAP benefit amounts in Texas depend on a household’s net income. $100 more in net monthly income often equals $30 less in SNAP food benefits.
Note: Households with a person who is 60 or older or with a disability only have to pass the net income test if they fail the gross income test above. All other households don’t have to meet this test. Further, SNAP food benefits are based on net income. Thus, even if a family passes all the eligibility requirements, it might still not qualify for SNAP benefits because its net income is too high.
|Net Monthly Income
|Each additional member
Note: The net income requirement is often 100% of the national poverty line, determining the highest income allowed for SNAP eligibility.
Here’s how to calculate SNAP net income:
|Net Income Computation
|Example of a household of 4 people
|Subtract 20 percent earned income deduction
|Gross income from the previous example = $3,050Earned income = $2,500 x 20% = $500$3,050 – $500 = $2,550
|Subtract standard deduction
|$2,550 – $208 = $2,342
|Subtract dependent care deduction
|$2,342 – $362 dependent care= $1,980
|Subtract child support payment
|Subtract medical expenses over $35 for disabled or elderly family members
|Determine half-adjusted income
|$1,980 adjusted income ÷ 2 = $990
|Determine if shelter expenses are more than half of adjusted income
|$800 total shelter expenses – $990 (half of adjusted income) = $190 excess shelter expenses.
|Subtract excess shelter amount, but not more than the allowed limit, from the adjusted income.
|$1,980 – $190 = $1,790 net monthly income.
|Apply the net income test.
|Since $1,790 is less than the $2,313 (the allowed limit) for a family of 4, this family meets the income test and qualifies for SNAP benefits.
Resource or Asset Requirement
It includes all countable resources, including money in bank accounts. Often, a home isn’t considered as a resource.
Note: All households must meet a resource limit of $ 5,000, and families with a person who is 60 years or older or with a disability that didn’t meet the gross income test must meet the resource limit of $4250.
- Child support fees: To determine net income, you must subtract any court-ordered child support fees from your gross income.
- Standard medical deductions: You can deduct monthly medical costs for family members with disability or who are 60 or older. To obtain your net income, subtract the total costs (minus $35) with verification.
- Utility allowances: Families can only get one utility stipend. If your family is eligible for multiple utility subsidies, pick the highest allowance.
- Other deductions: Other exemptions like shelter deductions only apply for the percentage that total shelter expenses surpass household income.
Individuals and families must consider their net income and check official resources for up-to-date information on SNAP eligibility requirements in Texas.
Exemptions and Deductions:
The following exemptions are allowed for SNAP benefits in Texas:
- A 20% deduction from earned income.
- A dependent care exemption when needed for training, work, or education.
- A standard deduction of $198 for families of one to three people (higher for larger families).
- Medical expenses for disabled or elderly family members that are over $35 for the month if they aren’t paid by insurance or someone else. Allowable medical costs include:
- Most dental and medical expenses, including doctor bills, prescription medication, and other over-the-counter drugs, when approved by a doctor;
- Inpatient and outpatient hospital costs;
- Nursing care; and
- Medically related costs, like some transportation expenses, health insurance premiums, and attendant care
The costs of special diets aren’t allowable medical expenses.
- Legally owed child support fees.
- Excess shelter costs deductions. This includes excess shelter expenses that are more than half of a family’s income after other deductions. Allowable shelter cost deductions include:
- Fuel to heat and cook with
- The basic fee of one telephone
- Rent and mortgage payments and interests
- Taxes on the home.
The shelter deductions are often capped at $672 unless one family member is disabled or elderly.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps low-income individuals and families buy foods that can help them stay healthy from local groceries.
Before you apply for SNAP food benefits in Texas, you must ensure your eligibility:
- Income requirements
- Employment services.
- Work requirements for persons aged between 18 and 50 years.
You must prepare the following documentation for proof:
- Income proof from your employment, including two recent pay paychecks or stubs, self-employment records, or a statement from your boss.
- Bank accounts, including the most recent statement for all your accounts.
- Medical bills. This includes statements, costs, and receipts from hospitals, doctors, drug stores, and other healthcare providers. These records show the medical expenses you have now and the expenses you’ll have in the future.
- Mortgage or rent costs – Recent check stubs, checks, or statements from your landlord or mortgage bank. Renters must also give their landlord’s name, phone number, and address.
- Dependent care costs. Signed statements or canceled checks from people you pay. Signed statements must show how much and when you pay.
- Child support payments you pay – You must include court documents that show how much you owe for child support. These include court orders, divorce papers, and district clerk records.
- Child support you receive – You must also include district clerk records and letters indicating how much and how often you receive child support. The letter should have the address, name, signature, and phone number of the parent who pays child support.
Many adults aged between 18 and 49 years who don’t have kids can only receive SNAP food benefits for 90 days in three years. However, the benefit duration can be extended if an individual works at least 20 hours a week or participates in a training program or job. Again, persons who are pregnant or with disabilities aren’t required to work to get SNAP benefits.
Texans can apply for SNAP food benefits in three ways:
- Online. You can apply for SNAP benefits in Texas at YourTexasBenefits.com.
- In-person. To apply for SNAP benefits in person, you must take a completed application form to the nearest Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) office. You can get your application form from a local HHS office, call 2-1-1 to send one to you, or download one from YourTexasBenefits.com.
- Fax. You’ll need to fax your application form to 1-877-477-2839. However, if your application form is two-sided, you must fax both sides.
You can also apply for SNAP benefits in Texas from a smartphone. That’s because the FAX app can convert a phone into a fax machine, allowing you to fill, sign, and send your SNAP food benefit application form from anywhere. To use your phone to send a SNAP application:
- Download the FAX app from the Google Store or Apple Store and install it on your phone.
- Fill out your SNAP application and scan it using your phone’s webcam.
- Sign your application form, add a cover sheet, edit, and preview the final document.
- Fill in the fax number 1-877-477-2839 and click the “Send” button to complete the faxing.
To apply for SNAP benefits online, you need to:
- Visit YourTexasBenfits.com and click on the “Apply for Benefits” button.
- Next, set up your account and follow the on-screen instructions to create your username and password.
- Fill out all the required fields on the SNAP application form. You’ll have to provide personal details for all family members, including dates of birth, names, addresses, social security numbers, marriage and education statuses, and contact information. Also, you’ll need to disclose if pregnant people or military personnel are in your household and whether anyone needs help with job interviews.
- You’ll also need to provide details about existing medical bills, health insurance policies, bank account information, vehicles owned by family members, housing expenses, and the amount of income each family member earns.
- Then, read and sign the required sections.
- Click on the “Submit” button at the end of the application form to submit your application to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which will forward your application to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Once you submit your SNAP application form, the US SNAP office has to decide on your application within 30 days of the submission date.
The SNAP benefits usually are issued from the original date of the application. Applicants have ten days after the interview to provide additional documentation.
If required documents are received between 31 and 60 days from the application date, your claim will be reopened, but your eligibility for SNAP benefits starts when your documents are received.
If eligible for SNAP benefits, you’ll receive a notification on the amount of benefits you’ll receive, the time for which they’re certified, and when SNAP food benefits will become available.
Once your claim is closed, your pick-up date each month is the same as the last digit of your claim number (i.e., Claim F125679 FF will have a pick-up day on the 9th of every month).
Click here to learn about social security income requirements.
Recertification and Renewal of SNAP Benefits
SNAP benefits ensure that as many individuals and families in the United States can afford to buy healthy and balanced food.
This is one of the most widely received benefits in the US; however, beneficiaries have to ensure they reapply every year so that they continue getting food benefits if they need them and continue getting the right level of benefits for their current situation.
That process is known as recertification, and to carry it out, beneficiaries of SNAP benefits in Texas must submit an application form by the 15th of their latest certification period.
Suppose an individual or family doesn’t contact HHSC by the last business of their certification period to complete an interview. In that case, the renewal of their application is denied on the last business day of their existing certification period using appropriate notice.
Thankfully, the state government often automatically mails a recertification application to any person who might remain potentially eligible for SNAP benefits in Texas.
After you get that application form, you only need to fill it out and submit it back, and if you’re still eligible, you’ll stay on the list to receive SNAP food benefits.
Conclusion: SNAP Benefits Texas Eligibility
People with disabilities, older adults, children, veterans, and employees who don’t earn enough to feed themselves and their families turn to SNAP to help buy food every month. It’s the country’s most efficient anti-hunger initiative.
SNAP buffers the struggles of hard-working individuals and families by offering them funds to buy food and pay for basic needs. It serves as a broad cross-section for low-income Texans. Often, families with incomes below 165% of the Federal poverty level qualify for SNAP benefits in Texas if they also meet the initiative’s rules on citizenship, work requirements, and asset limits. The dollar amount for a household’s SNAP benefits varies based on family size and income.