Governor Greg Abbott announced July 24 that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has received federal authority to extend certifications by six months for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients whose benefits are up for renewal in July and August. HHSC received federal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to also waive interview requirements for new and current households.
“The State of Texas is committed to ensuring families have access to nutritious food throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Abbott. “By extending automatic SNAP renewals and temporarily waiting interview requirements, we will ensure more Texans have healthy meals for their families. I thank our federal partners for their continuous support as we respond to COVID-19.”
“As we continue to fight against COVID-19, these automatic renewals provide food security and peace of mind to families in need during this unprecedented time,” said Texas HHS Access and Eligibility Services Deputy Executive Commissioner Wayne Salter. “Waiving interviews also reinforces that it is important to stay home when possible to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19.”
The interview waiver applies to new applicants as well as those whose benefits are up for renewal, and HHSC can process applications as they are received and make eligibility determinations faster.
The automatic renewals will extend the benefits of approximately 276,000 households who have not yet turned in their renewal information for July and August. This extension is the latest change to SNAP since the onset of COVID-19. Other initiatives include the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot, Pandemic EBT, and allowing the maximum, allowable amount of SNAP benefits by household size.
Administered by HHSC, SNAP is a federal program that provides food assistance to approximately 1.4 million eligible low-income families and individuals in Texas. Texans in need can apply for benefits, including SNAP and Medicaid, at YourTexasBenefits.com or use the Your Texas Benefits mobile app to manage their benefits.