There are 332,798 alimony claims pending in Texas.
TEXAS, USA – When you think of the word snap, you might think snappy, as in quick. But a painfully slow snap causes desperation and food insecurity for a North Texas single mother of two little girls, ages 2 and 4.
This woman recently contacted the WFAA about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is administered by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. The mother said her six months of assistance was running out, so in May she applied to recertify (renew) her benefits for another six months.
But nearly two months after that, she says she is still waiting for an answer.
The woman says she is working, but she can’t make ends meet.
“I pay my bills or I feed my children,” she said.
332,798 Texas SNAP requests pending processing
And that is experienced by many Texans.
The commission says it “recognizes the importance of the benefits of SNAP and (strives) to process cases as quickly as possible.”
But state officials acknowledge that the Texas HHS commission is understaffed and struggling to meet the growing demand for food aid it is seeing this year.
Texas had 332,798 SNAP requests pending processing as of July 18, but officials say most of those requests (74%) get a decision within 30 days.
What to do if your SNAP benefits have not been extended
These are all new requests for food aid. The case of the mother above, and another woman who recently wrote saying her benefits expired after renewing them, are not new claims.
In June, the federal government authorized Texas to extend SNAP benefits for an additional six months to anyone who is already in the program and trying to renew in July or August, so that all of those people are not added to this backlog. already huge. .
RELATED: Texas SNAP benefits extended for July. Here’s how to apply
These people are supposed to have their benefits extended until January and February 2023, respectively.
That said, the state maintains that there is no current backlog of people renewing their SNAP benefits. When the WFAA pointed out that this didn’t align with what people were saying about trying to renew their benefits and stay in limbo, they sent the following response with options for those in this situation:
“Applicants can check the status of their application/renewal, report changes, and provide additional information on the YourTexasBenefits.com website and mobile app. The website and the mobile application are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People can contact the Office of the Ombudsman at 1-877-787-8999 if they have complaints or concerns.
People also have the right to appeal if they think the action taken in their case is wrong. Individuals can request an appeal by calling 2-1-1 (1-877-541-7905) or by sending a letter to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, PO Box 149027, Austin, Texas 78714-9027 that includes their full name, file number, address and telephone number.
Additionally, families who are waiting for their application to be processed can contact the 2-1-1 Texas Information and Referral Network (2-1-1 TIRN), Option 1 to receive a referral to available resources. 2-1-1 TIRN provides access to national and local health and social service programs. Families can also access the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s community partner, Feeding Texas, to locate information about local food banks.
Even with the SNAP program, hunger is a big problem in Texas
It is estimated that nearly four million Texans are food insecure and 20% of Texas children go hungry. If this describes your family or someone you know, there is probably help near you.
- No Kid Hungry has a meal map that maps locations with meal availability, whether you’re looking for breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, or dinner. You can also access it by texting the word “FOOD” or “COMIDA” to 304304.
- To view eligibility criteria and apply for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, click here.
- The Texas Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a nutrition program for pregnant, breastfeeding women, and families with children under 5 years of age. Click here to apply.
- You can also find free grocery stores near you by clicking here and entering your zip code.
- Free meals are offered to children as part of the Texas Summer Meal Program. Here is more information.
- In North Texas, you can find a pantry map here.
State of Texas hiring to process food aid requests
Meanwhile, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission says it’s trying to recruit staff to handle the influx of SNAP apps.
“In an effort to increase staffing levels, we have implemented workforce recruitment and retention initiatives, including job fairs and salary increases. In March 2022, HHSC issued one-time performance-based merit payments to eligible employees. As part of HHSC’s retention efforts, newly hired eligibility counselors receive a 3.5% equity adjustment at 6 months and receive a career (promotion) at 12 months with another 3.5% salary increase %. HHSC has also implemented flexible scheduling options for eligibility counselors. We will continue to explore opportunities to recruit and retain qualified personnel to help serve Texans.