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SNAP food benefits delayed for some Texas families

KXAN
KXAN
 2022-07-03

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — Kihayla Soloye hasn’t been able to get any answers over the phone.

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Round Rock Health and Human Services Food Stamp Office. (KXAN Photo/Julie Karam)

After weeks of waiting, on Tuesday morning she drove to the Round Rock Health and Human Services Food Stamp Office hoping to talk to someone after delays in getting what she described as a necessary benefit.

“Usually it’s a one-day process, and they process it and get me some help right away, but they told me to wait 30 to 45 days, which I thought I didn’t hear the lady right. Like I was, ’30 to 45 days?’ And she was like, ‘yeah,'” Soloye explained.

She has been trying since May to renew her Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP food benefits.

“I have a 3-year-old son, you know, gas has been almost $5,” Soloye said. “I’m DoorDashing to get food for my son and gas money.”

A KXAN News viewer helping another family apply for the benefits sent an email saying, “Today they were told by the clerk ‘we are 65 days behind you’ll just have to wait.'”

Increase in applications and staff shortages

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission oversees SNAP benefits.

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Tiffany Young, assistant press officer with the agency, said as of June 26, there were an estimated 258,000 applications pending processing.

“HHSC is taking action to process cases as quickly as possible to ensure timely access to important benefits,” Young said.

She added right now, 74% of applications are determined within 30 days from receiving it, which is within the federal time standard.

Young explained an increase in applications and staffing shortages have been challenging.

“The workforce and workload challenges throughout the pandemic have increased in the last few months when certain federal flexibilities ended, leading to an increase in processing times,” Young said.

She explained the federal flexibilities which ended included SNAP certification extensions.

HHSC is hiring

If qualified, a family of two can get about $459 a month in food benefit. For a family of five, it’s $992.

HHSC has held job fairs to help with recruitment.

Just this month the agency received federal approval to reinstate certain federal flexibilities including waiving the SNAP interview requirement and extending current SNAP re-certifications.

HHSC said families waiting on their application to be processed can contact 2-1-1, which is the Texas Information and Referral Network (2-1-1 TIRN), Option 1, to receive a referral to available resources.

Families can also access the agency’s community partner, Feeding Texas, to locate local food bank information.

Comments / 150

Girl Gone
07-03

we renewed in April & when I didn't hear anything after 33 days , I called the main office, & they let me speak to an "account specialist" . He said anything over 30 days is too long to wait. He Expedited our renewal & he also said that he couldn't guarantee quick results, but it should speed it up. 4 days later we got our benefits. So maybe that's what this person needs to do. ... He also said they are running behind.but it shouldn't take over 30 days.

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Neisha Cole Cooper
07-04

A job doesn't mean anything, people with jobs also can get SNAP benefits..plus a person with a job still can't afford the prices it pays with or without. As well as gas, food prices went up too, too up!

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9
Brandy Samuel
07-03

might not be so behind if ABBOTT didn't STEAL $277 MILLION from HHS budget :) hope you food stamp recipients keep voting red... eventually there will be nothing left for you.

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