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Texas Agency To Speed Up Food Assistance

Texas is making its efforts to speed up food assistance and process SNAP applications so that people can seek benefits.

December 15, 2023

Texas officials have sent a corrective action report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in response to concerns about lengthy delays in providing food assistance to families facing food instability. This action is a response to whistleblower warnings and aims to address the issue.

The report reveals that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is asking USDA to oversee a list of potential solutions to the problems leading to delays in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program applications. SNAP applications have a backlog of 138,000 applicants waiting for months to seek help. 

The report has also laid out several causes leading to processing delays from October 2022 to September which in turn resulted in 71.5% of applications being processed. 

Most of the delays are due to applications having missing wage and salary information, discrepancies caused by changes in residence, and incorrect benefit allotments approved by HHSC. 

HHSC also presented solutions including emphasizing agency employees collaborating to share practices in avoiding application mistakes and improving workflows to encourage higher volume determinations. 

The processing delays are the result of HHSC working through the benefit redetermination process for 6 Million Medicaid recipients which coincided with an increase in SNAP applications. 

Medicaid is a medical insurance available for children, pregnant women, and people with disabilities making less income. Those people whose income is less than $3083 a month are eligible for Medicaid. 

As far as it’s about the eligibility for SNAP, a family of four must be making less than $3816 to be eligible for SNAP. The average waiting time to learn about your eligibility is 23 days in October 2023. 

According to HHSC, 138,000 SNAP applications received more than 30 days prior had not begun with the determination process in Late November. 

About 160,000 Texans are being re-enrolled in a program, with approximately two-thirds of their applications processed within a 30-day timeframe, based on data from October 2022 through September. Renewal requests are approved before current benefits expire, so the HHSC does not consider them untimely.

The HHSC is planning to shift 25 members of its staff to look after processing SNAP applications and training around 600 employees to cater to Medicaid requests. Besides this, officials also visited HHSC to take part in the conversation focussing on technical assistance and interagency collaboration.

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The content provided in this article draws inspiration and includes quotes from various reputable sources, including news articles, government data, and interviews. Affordable Housing 411 strives to ensure accuracy and credibility, but the information presented may be based on some external sources. We encourage readers to refer to the referenced materials for more in-depth insights and verification.

 

Gore Hogan. “Texas agency tries to speed up food assistance; others concerned over holiday hunger”. Statesman, December 5, 2023, 

As holidays approach, agency tries to quicken SNAP access in Texas (statesman.com)

 

Last Updated: September 20, 2021